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Special Collections Online at UT

Admiral David Glasgow Farragut and H. R. Billings Collection

Identifier: MS-2145

  • Staff Only

This letter was written on July 30, 1864, shortly before the battle of Mobile Bay. This battle was intended to enforce the Union blockade of Mobile and is considered one of the more important battles of the Civil War. Indeed, it was during this battle that Farragut made his famous comment Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead! The document itself is fairly mundane: it communicates H. R. Billings's official detachment from the USS Vincennes and orders him to report for duty to Farragut off Mobile. C. H. Greene received this letter on July 31, 1864 and reported it on August 02, 1864.


  • 1864 July 30

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


0.1 Linear Feet


This collection consists of a letter dated July 30, 1864 from Rear Admiral David Farragut to H. R. Billings that officially granted Billings's request to be detached from the USS Vincennes.

Biographical/Historical Note

David Glasgow Farragut was born in Farragut, Tennessee on July 5, 1801. He joined the U. S. Navy at an early age, beginning his service as a midshipman on December 17, 1810. He received his first command on board the USS Ferret in 1823, and began commanding his first ship-of-the-line, the USS Delaware, in 1841. During the Civil War, units under his command participated in taking New Orleans, the blockade of Mobile Bay, and the battle of Mobile Bay. Congress made Farragut, who was by then considered a war hero, an Admiral in July of 1866. Farragut died in January of 1870. For more information regarding Admiral Farragut, please see MS 1887.

Aside from the information present in this letter, no further biographical information was found on H. R. Billings.


Collection consists of a single folder.

Acquisition Note

The Special Collections Library purchased this document in October of 2003.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA