Farragut to Welles: Sailors, Not Weapons, Win Battles


On Nov. 8, 1864, Read Arm. David Farragut, commander of US naval forces during the Civil War, wrote a powerful letter to Navy Secretary Gideon Welles months after the Battle of Mobile Bay that sailors, not weapons, determine the outcome of battles. Farragut, the first US naval officer to achieve the ranks of rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral, wrote: “I think the world is sadly mistaken when it supposes that battles are won by this or that kind of gun or vessel. In my humble opinion the Kearsarge would have captured or sunk the Alabama as often as they might have met under the same organization and officers. The best gun and the best vessel should certainly be chosen, but the victory three times out of four depends upon those who fight them. I do not believe that the result would have been different if the Kearsarge had had nothing but a battery of 8-inch guns and 100-pound chase rifle. What signifies the size and caliber of the gun if you do not hit your adversary?”

Comments are closed.

Your Information will never be shared with any third party.