James Alden


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(1810–77) Union naval officer, born in Portland, Maine (then part of Massachusetts). At the battle of Mobile Bay (1864), Alden commanded the ironclad steam sloop Brooklyn. Mistaking buoys for torpedoes (mines), Alden indecisively and overcautiously stopped and then backed the Brooklyn. The ironclad turned broadside in the channel, confusing the other ships in the column and driving Adm. David Farragut, aboard the Hartford, to swear, “Damn the torpedoes. Go ahead!”

From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence.

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