Fort Fisher

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

Thursday, May 8, 2014

USS Commodore Jones Detroyed By a Torpedo

MAY 6TH, 1864:  The USS Commodore Jones, Acting Lt. Thomas Wade, was destroyed by a huge 2,000 pound electric torpedo in the James River while dragging for torpedoes with the USS Mackinaw and USS Commodore Morris.

From the Norfolk Naval Hospital, Wade later reported that the torpedo "exploded directly under the ship with terrible effect, causing her destruction instantly, absolutely blowing the vessel to splinters."

Others reported that the hull of the converted ferry boat was lifted completely out of the water by the force of the explosion which claimed some 40 lives.

A landing party of sailors and Marines went ashore immediately and captured two torpedomen and the galvanic batteries which had detonated the mine.  One of the Confederates, Jeffries Johnson, refused to divulge information regarding the locations of torpedoes under interrogation, but he "signified his willingness to tell all" when he was placed in the bow of the forward ship on river duty, and Johnson became the war's "unique minesweeper."

Funny How That Might Change Your Mind.  Tell or Be Blown Up.  --Old B-R'er

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