The destruction of the “Albemarle.”
The rebel iron-clad ram, the “Albemarle
,” whose contest with and discomfiture by the “Sassacus
,” in May, 1864, has been previously described in this volume, and which had become a formidable obstruction to the occupation of the North Carolina
sounds by the Union
forces, finally met her fate in October of the same year.
During the previous summer, Lieutenant W. B. Cushing
, commanding the “Monticello
,” one of the sixteen vessels engaged in watching the “ram,” conceived the plan of destroying their antagonist by means of a torpedo.
Upon submitting the plan to Rear-Admiral Lee
and the Navy Department, he was detached from his vessel, and sent to New York to provide the articles necessary for his purpose, and these preparations having been at last completed, he returned again to the scene of action.
His plan was to affix his newly-contrived torpedo apparatus to one of the picket launches-little steamers not larger than a seventy-four's launch, but fitted with a compact engine, and designed to relieve the seamen of the fatigue of pulling about at night on the naval picket line-and of which half a dozen had been then recently built under the superintendence of Captain Boggs
, of “Varuna” fame.
Under Lieutenant Cushing
's supervision, picket launch No. 1 was supplied with the torpedo — which was carried in a basket, fixed to a long arm, which could be propelled, at the important moment, from the vessel in such a manner as to reach the side of the vessel to be destroyed, there to b1,