( Originally Published Early 1900's )
FORMERLY, the age of admission to our navy, was much lower than it is at present, and thus it chanced that in 1813, young Farragut, although but thirteen years of age, found himself a midshipman, on board the man-of-war, Essex, commanded by Captain Porter.
Early in the following year, while the Essex lay in the neutral harbor of Valparaiso, she was attacked by the two British frigates, Phoebe and Cherub, either of which was much her superior in strength.
Porter, however, had no idea of surrendering, and fought his ship with the greatest heroism, suffering terrible loss of life, and resulting finally in the Essex becoming a helpless wreck. The carnage was frightful ; men dead and dying cumbered the decks, while the very cock-pit ran blood. But through all this terrible scene, while cannon shot were rushing by, or sending masts and splinters flying around his head, while men were falling fast around him, the boy, Farragut, stood amid his guns ; the only officer left alive.
There at his post, this mere child remained to the end ; the blood flowing from his own tender side; but above the roar of combat, rising over the sound of shrieking shell, was regularly heard his shrill, childish, treble voice, as he calmly transmitted the orders of his grand commander. Naval history furnishes few sublimer pictures than that presented by this undaunted lad, whose sense of duty proved superior to the fears of childhood, and overcame terrors which might well have appalled a veteran to the trade.
In the battle of life, there have been some boys and girls who have been heroic soldiers of the Cross, standing at the post of duty, fighting valiantly for the establishment of the Kingdom of God.