MAY 12TH, 1864: 150 Years Ago. Rear Admiral Lee, prompted by the recent losses of the USS Commodore Jones and Shawsheen on the James River, ordered Lt. Rosweell H. Lamson to command a special "torpedo and picket division" on that river.
The force would include the side-wheelers USS Stepping Stones, Delaware and Tritonia. In addition to patrolling and reconnoitering the river banks and dragging the river itself for torpedoes, Lee directed Lamson: "By night keep picket vessels and boats ahead and underway with alarm signals to prevent surprise from rebel river craft, rams, torpedo 'Davids,' and fire rafts."
The Confederates Had a Lot of New and Old technology to Worry About. --Old B-R'er