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 Posted: Sun Jan 7th, 2007 02:11 am
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CleburneFan
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When David Farragut stormed Mobile Bay he is famous for having yelled, "Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead!"

My question is this...what kind of torpedo did he mean? What was the state of the art in torpedo warfare in the Civil War? Could ships actually shoot a torpedo underwater with accurate aim then or was the torpedo at that time something very different from what we think of in "Victory at Sea" World War Two naval battle scenes or tense submarine movies such as "Hunt for Red October"?



 Posted: Sun Jan 7th, 2007 02:22 am
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Doc C
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Believe the torpedoes were of the stationary type placed by the confederates. On a personal note, Franklin Buchanan - commander of the confederate forces at Mobile is an ancestor of mine. Interesting character. Was with Perry when he arrived in Japan. Helped creat the naval academy in Annapolis. The first commandant there. Was head of the DC armory at the onset of the war. Resigned his commission thinking that his home state of Maryland would join the CSA but when they didn't wrote Lincoln asking to be reinstated. Lincoln told him to essentially "kiss off". Was the captain of the CSS Virginia on the 1st day, wounded that day thus was unable to participate in the fight with the Monitor.

Doc C



 Posted: Sun Jan 7th, 2007 02:30 am
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CleburneFan
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Thanks for the quick response.  So torpedoes didn't move rapidly through the water...they were more like mines?

Very interesting about Franklin Buchanan. He would make a good question for Trivia. I haven't seen many Trivia questions about naval participants in the war, yet naval action was fascinating and quite colorful. Your ancester certainly led an interesting and historically note worthy life. 



 Posted: Sun Jan 7th, 2007 02:37 am
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Doc C
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Another interesting tidbit, which I've posted before, is that the Buchanan, Lee, Marshall, Buford, Early, Winder, Tilghman families, just to name a few, are all related.

Doc C



 Posted: Sun Jan 7th, 2007 03:25 am
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CleburneFan
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Doc C wrote: Another interesting tidbit, which I've posted before, is that the Buchanan, Lee, Marshall, Buford, Early, Winder, Tilghman families, just to name a few, are all related.

Doc C

I didn't know that either. What an amazing and distinguished family tree!



 Posted: Sun Jan 7th, 2007 03:44 am
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susansweet
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Farragut was on his command shiip Hartford , one ironclad in front of him.  The topedoes or as we call them mines were stretched out ahead of him.   The topedoes were not very effective not always going off when a ship went over them.  The Ironclad USS Tecumseh  ahead of  Farragut 's ship that was lashed  to another smaller ship .  The Tecusmseh hit a mine and went down with almost all hands lost. 

The other ships started to back up to turn around . Farragut knew to go back they would have to face the guns of the two forts at the entrance to the bay.  He counted on the mines not blowing up his ships as they went over them.  Hence, Damn the topedoes ,  Full speed ahead.  Farragut was up in the riggings in his regular place during a battle and could see the topedos in the water They all made it over them and the battle started. 

Oh and Buchanan and Farragut were good friends before the war.



 Posted: Tue Jan 9th, 2007 01:24 am
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CleburneFan
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Thanks for the additional information, Susan.  I wish I had a picture or drawing of a Civil War mine.

If the Confederate navy used water mines, did either army use land mines? I don't recall having ever read of an infantyman or horse being injured or killed by a land mine, but I am just wondering if technology had moved that far during the war.



 Posted: Tue Jan 9th, 2007 04:17 am
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ole
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Gen Gabriel Rains buried artillery shells rigged to explde at Williamsburg during the Penninsula Campaign. This perfidious act raised outrage on both sides. As his performance at Seven Pines was considered  flawed, he was reassigned to direct submarine defenses in the James and Appomattox Rivers. This caused some disturbance among the Confederate leaders so he was reassigned to run the Bureau of Conscription. By May 25, 1863, he was back at work placing mines around Richmond, Mobile and Charleston.

Apparently there came to a degree of acceptance, because they were planted quite liberally around Fort Pulaski. Sherman had the fort's personnel locate and dig them up. What really yanked his chain was the planting them in the roads or bridges over which his troops were marching -- that was barbaric. From that arose the stories of rounding up civilians and having them march ahead of the troops, or loading a flat car or wagonwith them and pulling it across bridges with a long rope.

Like you, I've not read where casualties were inflicted, but I do dimly recall a rather ugly discovery of the presence of mines at Williamsburg.

Ole

Last edited on Tue Jan 9th, 2007 04:28 am by ole



 Posted: Tue Jan 9th, 2007 04:34 am
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susansweet
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[/code][code]


[/code][code]

http://home.triad.rr.com/aom/civil.htm   Check here to see different types of torpedoes from the Civil War .

Susan
[/code][code]
[code]

Last edited on Tue Jan 9th, 2007 04:36 am by susansweet



 Posted: Tue Jan 9th, 2007 06:15 pm
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javal1
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All you could ever want to know about Civil War torpedoes, and more!

http://www.infernal-machines.com/_sgg/m1m5_1.htm 



 Posted: Tue Jan 9th, 2007 08:50 pm
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susansweet
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Thanks Joe, I apparently did a poor job of posting a website on my answer.  Farragut is a real interest of mine.  He is such an ineresting character.   A friend even bought me a CDV of Farragut as a gift this past year.  You would have thought he bought me a piece of jewelry I was so excited. 

Side bar.  I bought a book for kids on the Civil War at the Nixon Library last week.  I buy books to donate to various library when I find them at a good price. Since it had a article on the Battle of Mobile Bay I read it before I planned to send it to my sister in law's library.  Well I am sure everyone would be amazed to know that Buchannan died in the Battle.  Makes me wonder how he became president of Maryland State Agricultural College after the war.



 Posted: Tue Jan 9th, 2007 08:50 pm
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susansweet
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Thanks Joe, I apparently did a poor job of posting a website on my answer.  Farragut is a real interest of mine.  He is such an ineresting character.   A friend even bought me a CDV of Farragut as a gift this past year.  You would have thought he bought me a piece of jewelry I was so excited. 

Side bar.  I bought a book for kids on the Civil War at the Nixon Library last week.  I buy books to donate to various library when I find them at a good price. Since it had a article on the Battle of Mobile Bay I read it before I planned to send it to my sister in law's library.  Well I am sure everyone would be amazed to know that Buchannan died in the Battle.  Makes me wonder how he became president of Maryland State Agricultural College after the war.



 Posted: Tue Jan 9th, 2007 09:14 pm
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Doc C
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Franklin Buchanan, commander at Mobile Bay, died 1874 in Talbot County, Maryland. He's buried at Wye House where many gravesites of many of my other ancestors are located. Wye House is just minutes from where I live on the eastern shore of Maryland.

Doc C



 Posted: Tue Jan 9th, 2007 10:33 pm
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susansweet
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Doc there was a website to contact the author so I did.  Wrote her a note and pointed out the mistake about Buchanan's death. That he had actually survived the battle.



 Posted: Wed Jan 10th, 2007 12:18 am
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CleburneFan
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javal1 wrote: All you could ever want to know about Civil War torpedoes, and more!

http://www.infernal-machines.com/_sgg/m1m5_1.htm 


That is a very informative web site. I didn't know they even had a primitive "grenade" and were developing depth charges. It is also interesting to see the many types of torpedoes and "sub-terra" or what we call land mines that were developed.

I love that Longtsreet denounced the use of mines as not being a manly way to fight.



 Posted: Wed Jan 10th, 2007 02:23 am
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Widow
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CF,

I love that Longtsreet denounced the use of mines as not being a manly way to fight.

Which leads to another discussion:  the Age of Chivalry (which wasn't chivalrous, but rather barbaric) and its influence on the way the Civil War was fought in the early years.

Back in the olden days, only noblemen could fight on horseback.  They usually would rather capture the foe and hold him for ransom, instead of killing him outright.

We can blame the Normans for this.  And Sir Walter Scott.  Yeah, I read Ivanhoe too, and loved it.

horse > cheval > chivalry > cavalier > cavalry > caballero

The whole idea was equal numbers of opponents of equal social rank, using equal weapons, face to face.  Any other way was for the common foot soldiers, yeomen, peasants, whatnot.  The Code Duello was the extreme application of those principles.  Fight fair, according to accepted rules.

It was more important to be seen as a gentleman who fought fair and lost, than to be known as a common cheater who won.  No sniping, ganging up, hidden weapons, shooting in the back, unconventional warfare, warrring on civilians.  Just you and me, buddy, mano a mano, we'll see who's the better man.

Glory is external, someone else has to see it and call it glorious.  Honor is internal, doing the right or fair thing even if nobody witnesses it. 

It's my belief that the most troublesome chemical in the world is testosterone.

double chin-grin ---> ((:

Patty



 Posted: Wed Jan 10th, 2007 02:29 pm
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David White
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Widow:

Yeah, well without testosterone who would kill all those nasty germ laddened bugs for you? :P;) 



 Posted: Thu Jan 11th, 2007 01:19 am
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CleburneFan
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Patty. I really enjoyed your background on the chivalrous way of fighting.  It seems that the US Civil War really began to see that idea go the way of King Arthur and begin to look a little more like it looks today. 



 Posted: Thu Jan 11th, 2007 12:58 pm
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Widow
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David, I like testosterone just fine.  I never watch the estrogen channels on cable.  I was just making a smarty-pants remark that was meant to be funny, that's all.  Although there may be a tiny grain of truth in it?

Patty



 Posted: Sat Jan 27th, 2007 04:12 pm
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Texas Defender
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   Farragut's actual quote was: "Damn the torpedoes, four bells. Captain Drayton, go ahead. Jouett, full speed."

   Captain Drayton commanded Farragut's flagship, the HARTFORD. Jouett commanded the METACOMET, which was lashed to the HARTFORD. Farragut's ships had entered in columns, with the fourteen wooden ships linked in pairs on the left, and the monitors in column led by the TECUMSEH (Captain Craven) on the right.

   The lead wooden ship, the BROOKLYN (Captain Alden) spotted the floating torpedoes and slowed its advance. This backed up the column and prompted Farragut's decision to take the lead with his flagship. Thus, he told Drayton and Jouett to go to full speed so that he could pass the BROOKLYN and lead the way. The admiral climbed the rigging so that he could see over the thick clouds of smoke and direct his column.

   To his right, Captain Craven was anxious to engage Buchanan's flagship, the CSS TENNESSEE. When he set a more direct course to do so, he passed on the wrong side of a bouy and thus entered the field of floating torpedoes, causing the disaster that took 93 lives, including his.



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