As our ship cruised towards Mobile, this placid seascape expressed a sense of calm. The bands of overheads clouds place their shadows upon the placid waters of Mobile Bay, revealing only a distant refinery on the horizon. Yet all of us were made well aware of the fierce Civil War battle that raged upon this very spot in August, 1864. It was here that a Federal fleet commanded by Rear Admiral David Farragut fought and destroyed a Confederate fleet and gained control of the last important port of the Confederacy. The battle was marked by Farragut’s bold dash through a minefield that had just destroyed one of his ships. The mines were called “torpedoes” at the time, and according to legend, Farragut uttered the famous phrase “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” That story did not appear in print until several years later, and some historians doubt if it ever happened, but it remains a fixture in US Naval lore.