Admiral Farragut (1801-1870) entered the legends of U.S. military history with his bold statement: "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" The statement occurred during the taking of Mobile Bay during the Civil War. However, the torpedoes in question were not the propelled version we know now; they were mines that lay below the surface of the water. The fact that the Admiral was not in the lead ship that would encounter the torpedos may have made this courageous directive a little easier for the Admiral to make.
Nonetheless, Admiral Farragut was honored numerous times by the United States Congress, which invented three new ranks to award him. Abraham Lincoln always considered Farragut's appointment one of the best he ever made during the Civil War.
The statue was originally commissioned as a bust by Farragut's widow. It was the first memorial erected to a Civil War naval hero in DC. It is cast from the propellor of Farragut's ship, the U.S.S. Hartford.