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[154] in and out. At the suggestion of my chief-of-staff, Gen. Jordan, I consented to its use for this purpose, not as a submarine machine, but in the same manner as the David. As the Housatonic was easily approached through interior channels from behind Sullivan's Island, and Lieutenant Dixon readily procured a volunteer crew, his little vessel was fitted with a Lee spar torpedo, and the expedition was undertaken. Lieutenant Dixon, acting with characteristic coolness and resolution, struck and sunk the Housatonic on the night of February 17, 1864; but unhappily, from some unknown cause, the torpedo boat was also sunk, and all with it lost. Several years. since a “diver,” examining the wreck of the Housatonic, discovered the fish-boat lying alongside of its victim.

From the commencement of the siege of Charleston I had been decidedly of the opinion that the most effective as well as least costly method of defence against the powerful iron-clad steamers and monitors originated during the late war, was to use against them small but swift steamers of light draught, very low decks, and hulls iron-claded down several feet below the water-line; these boats to be armed with a spar-torpedo (on Captain Lee's plan), to thrust out from the bow at the moment of collision, being inclined to strike below the enemy's armor, and so arranged that the torpedo could be immediately renewed from within for another attack; all such boats to be painted gray like the blockaderunners, and, when employed, to burn anthracite coal, so as to make no smoke. But unfortunately I had not the means to put the system into execution. Soon after the first torpedo attack, made, as related, by the David upon the New Ironsides, I caused a number of boats and barges to be armed with spar-torpedoes for the purpose of attacking in detail the enemy's gunboats resorting to the sounds and harbors along the South Carolina coast. But, the Federals having become very watchful, surrounded their steamers at night with nettings and floating booms to prevent the torpedo boats from coming near enough to do them any injury. Even in the outer harbor of Charleston, where the blockaders and their consorts were at anchor, the same precaution was observed in calm weather.

The anchoring of the large torpedoes in position was attended with considerable danger. While planting them at the mouth of the Cooper and Ashley rivers (which form the peninsula of the

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