Fort Fisher

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

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A New Confederate Weapon: Torpedo Boat Saint Patrick

JUNE 16TH, 1864:

Commander Catesby ap R. Jones, commandant of the Confederate Naval Gun Foundry and ordnance Works at Selma, Alabama, wrote General Dabney H. Maury at Mobile that the submersible torpedo boat Saint Patrick, built by John P. Halligan, would be launched "in a few days."  

He added:  "It combines a number of ingenious contrivances, which, if experiments show that they will answer the purposes expected, will render the boat very formidable.  It is propelled by steam (the engine is very compact), though under water by hand.

"There are also arrangements for raising or descending at will, for attaching  the torpedo to the bottom of vessels, etc.  Its first field of operation will be Mobile Bay, and I hope you may soon have evidence of its success."

Although the Confederacy hoped to take the Saint Patrick against the Union forces off Mobile as the submarine H.L. Hunley had operated earlier in the year off Charleston, but delay after delay made it not until January 1865 that the ship was operational.

Another Thing for Farragut to Worry About.  --Old B-Runner

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