We subjoin a brief communication from the inventor of a torpedo for river defense, to which we have lately referred.
We publish it for the purpose of again urging the attention of the proper authorities to the subject.
We have examined the designs, and they strike us as practicable and economical.
For obvious reasons, the inventor, who was an officer in the late U. S. Navy, does not give a description of his plan:
--The successful attacks of the Yankee gunboats upon our coast defences, have impressed others, as well as myself, with the necessity of some means of defence other than the erection of earth works, which have proven insufficient against the power of modern naval improvements.
Before the introduction of rifled cannon, it was a settled point that wooden ships could not successfully oppose stone batteries or even earthworks.
An instance is given during the wars of the French
revolution, of an English squadron under Admiral Sir Sidney Smith
, (I believe,) whilst making a demonstration on Toulon
, having been forced to abandon the attack by the fire of a single 82 pounder from a martello tower, every shot from which told with damaging effect, whilst the lower presented so small a target that its defenders escaped unsc hed, and the English
were forced to retire.
This is one of the many instances wherein small things have successfully opposed and overcome great ones.
The capture of Beaufort, S. C.
, and other cities on our coast, and the blockade of our rivers, warns us that we should seek other me or defence besides hastily-erected batteries, which experience has taught us fall an easy prey to the powerful gunboats of the enemy.
The demonstration against Savannah
should urge the Government
to call into play every invention that offers a possibility of inflicting damage on the invader. --With this object in view, I have, as I sincerely believe, invented an engine of destruction that if used would clear the enemy from the Savannah river
and raise the blockade of Fort Pulaski
, with the additional inducements for its trial of cheapness and simplicity of construction.
I know, from the experience of others, how difficult it is to induce the authorities to test the invention of an humble individual.--Theory (too often false) is ladies out with a no sparing hand by would-be savannas to prove possibilities impossible.
Had such been listened to, the world would never have had a Fulton, a Stevenson, a Morse, and other great benefactors of mankind.
Amongst the many invention of our citizens now thrown a side as rubbish, untreated, some might be found (although condemned by the theorists) of usefulness to the country.
At the very time that the little steamer Straus
was entering the port of Liverpool
, after a successful voyage across the Atlantic
, Dr. Lardner
, the great gun of theorists, was edifying an audience with a learned
argument to prove the impossibility of steamers being employed in ocean navigation.