Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

150 Years Ago-- November 21-23, 1863: Capture of Banshee, Those Darn Torpedoes

NOVEMBER 21ST //// The USS Grand Gulf and Army transport Fulton capture the blockade-running British steamer Banshee south of Salter Path, NC. //// NOVEMBER 22ND: USS Jacob Bell transported troops to St. George's Island, Maryland, and captured some 30 Confederates, some of them blockade runners. //// NOVEMBER 23RD: The threat of Confederate torpedoes in rivers and coastal areas became an increasing threat as the war continued. The necessary precautions slowed Northern operations and tied up ships for picket duty that might otherwise have been better utilized. This date, Secretary Welles wrote Captain Gansevoort on the USS Roanoke, at Newport News: "Since the discovery of the torpedo on James River, near Newport News, the Department has felt some uneasiness with regard to the position of your vessel, as it evidently is the design of the rebels to drift such machines of destruction upon her.... Vigilance is demanded." //// Gansevoort replied two days later saying not to worry, that his ship was in deepest water and that "until very lately...a picket boat had been kept underway during all night just above this anchorage to prevent such missiles from approaching the ship." Also, the ship Poppy was assigned to that duty as well as a gunboat anchored above the Roanoke. //// Those Dadburn Confed. Torps. --Old B-Runner

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