Fort Fisher

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

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dahlgren Wants Torpedoes of His Own

FEBRUARY 16TH, 1864: Rear Admiral Dahlgren ordered 100 torpedoes from Benjamin Maillefert, an engineering specialist. Back in November, Maillefert had proposed using torpedoes to clear the obstructions in the channel between Fort Sumter and Charleston: "Each of these charges will be provided with a clockwork arrangement, which shall determine the exact time of firing; they are to contain 110 to 125 pounds of gunpowder each...." //// This date Dahlgren, satisfied with the tests during the intervening period, wrote: "Having witnessed the action of your time torpedoes, I think they may be servicable in operating against the rebels at Charleston and elsewhere. //// By the end of the war, both North and South were using torpedoes, forecasting the great roles that uunderwater ordnance would play in the 20th century. //// I imagine the idea with these clock timers would be to float them with the tide and estimate how long it would take to lodge against obstructions. //// Well, They Started It. --Old B-R'er

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