Just where did we get that rousing phrase from? Curator Jeff Seymour of the National Civil War Naval Museum tells the story.
Actually, it was reportedly called out by Union Admiral David Farragut in the Battle of Mobile Bay. Admiral Farragut was leading a flotilla of ships into Mobile Bay where the Confederates had spread underwater mines…which were then called torpedoes. After watching one of the lead ships strike a torpedo and sink into the sea, Farragut’s resolve remained unshaken as he ordered his men forward to victory. It was not without some luck, though, as many of the torpedoes had become waterlogged and did not detonate on the Union fleet as they crossed over them. Had all of those torpedoes gone off, that battle could have ended very differently.