OCTOBER 21ST, 1861: Charles p. Leavitt, 2nd Virginia Infantry, wrote the Confederate Secretary of War: "I have invented an instrument of war which for a better name I have called a submarine gunboat... My plan is simple. A vessel built of boiler iron about fifty tons burden ... but made of an oval form with propeller behind.
"This is for the purpose of having as little draft of water as possible for the purpose of passing over sand-bars without being observed by the enemy. The engines are of the latest and best style so as to use as little steam as possible in proportion to the power received.
"The boilers are so constructed as to generate steam without a supply of air. The air for respiration is kept in a fit condition for breathing by the gradual addition of oxygen while the carbonic acid is absorbed by a shower of lime water...."
Things Are Better Underwater. --Old B-Runner