The movements of the naval forces on the Atlantic coast
south of Cape Charles
and Cape Henry
, and along the borders of the Gulf
States, were primarily to forward the maintenance of a strict blockade, and secondly, to act in cooperation with the various land expeditions in the establishment of naval bases and the convoying of troops intended for inland service.
The armed ships of the navy lent their mighty aid in the reduction of the formidable forts that commanded the chief ports of entry.
Besides the universal adoption of armor and the recurrence to the ram of ancient days, there were introduced three important principles.
They were not new — the minds of our forefathers had roughly imagined them — but they were for the first time put successfully into practice.
The first was the revolving turret; the second, the torpedo, in both its forms, offensive and defensive, and the third was the “submergible” and actually the submarine, the diving ship of to-day.
The purposes and methods of their employment have not been changed; only in the details of construction and in the perfection of machinery and mechanism can the difference be seen.
The first notice of the torpedo in Civil War annals is when two were found floating down the Potomac
on July 7, 1861.
They were made of boiler-iron and were intended for Commander Craven
's little flotilla that was protecting Washington
Out in the West
, when Foote
and his gunboats made their way up the Tennessee
they actually steamed past, without touching, some mines that had drifted out of the channel.
The gunboat Cairo
was the first victim of this new style of warfare, in the Yazoo River
, December 12, 1862.
With the exception of the actions along the Potomac