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Browsing named entities in a specific section of Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 4. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones). Search the whole document.

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W. T. Glassel (search for this): chapter 32
Reminiscences of torpedo service in Charleston Harbor by W. T. Glassel, Commander Confederate States Navy. [The following interesting paper was sent us through the Secretary of the South Carolina Historical Society. In a note accompanying the paper the author says that while he has written from memory, and without official reports to refer to, he believes he has given the facts in the order of their occurrence.] I had served, I believe faithfully, as a lieutenant in the United States navy, and had returned from China on the United States steamer Hartford to Philadelphia, sometime in 1862, after the battles of Manassas and Ball's Bluff had been fought. I was informed that I must now take a new oath of allegiance or be sent immediately to Fort Warren. I refused to take this oath, on the ground that it was inconsistent with one I had already taken to support the Constitution of the United States. I was kept in Fort Warren about eight months, and then exchanged as a prisoner
H. H. Davis (search for this): chapter 32
w), and I ordered the engine stopped. The next moment the torpedo struck the vessel and exploded. What amount of direct damage the enemy received I will not attempt to say. Pilot Cannon states that the injuries were of so serious a nature that extra steam-pumps were found necessary to keep her afloat — that she was towed by tug-boats to Port Royal, where they lightened and tried to repair her, but without success; thence she was towed to Philadelphia, and finally sold for old iron . H. H. Davis, a northern writer, makes a statement which entirely contradicts the above.-Y. S. My little boat plunged violently, and a large body of water which had been thrown up descended upon her deck, and down the smoke-stack and hatchway. I immediately gave orders to reverse the engine and back off. Mr. Toombs informed me then that the fires were put out, and something had become jammed in the machinery so that it would not move. What could be done in this situation? In the mean time, the e
James Murphy (search for this): chapter 32
captain and officers of the Powhatan never have known how near they came to having the honor of being the first ship ever blown up by a torpedo boat. I do not think this failure was from any fault or want of proper precaution of mine. The man who backed his oar and stopped the boat at the-critical moment declared afterwards that he had been terrified so that he knew not what he was doing. He seemed to be ashamed of his conduct, and wished to go with me into any danger. His name was James Murphy, and he afterwards deserted to the enemy by swimming off to a vessel at anchor in the Edisto river. I think the enemy must have received some hint from spies, creating a suspicion of torpedoes, before I made this attempt. I got back to Charleston after daylight next morning, with only the loss of one torpedo, and convinced that steam was the only reliable motive power. Commodore Tucker having been ordered to command the naval forces at Charleston, torpedoes were fitted to the bow
G. T. Beauregard (search for this): chapter 32
y means of a hollow iron shaft projecting about fourteen feet ahead of the boat, and six or seven feet below the surface. I had also an armament on deck of four double-barrel shot guns, and as many navy revolvers; also, four cork life-preservers had been thrown on board, and made us feel safe. Having tried the speed of my boat, and found it satisfactory, (six or seven knots an hour,) I got a necessary order from Commodore Tucker to attack the enemy at discretion, and also one from General Beauregard. And. now came an order from Richmond, that I should proceed immediately back to rejoin the North Carolina, at Wilmington. This was too much! I never obeyed that order, but left Commodore Tucker to make my excuses to the Navy Department. The 5th of October, 1863, a little after dark, we left Charleston wharf, and proceeded with the ebb-tide down the harbor. A light north wind was blowing, and the night was slightly hazy, but star-light, and the water was smooth. I desired t
obtained thereby. I do not remember the date of my exchange again as a prisoner of war, but it was only in time to witness the painful agonies and downfall of an exhausted people, and the surrender of a hopeless cause. I was authorized to equip and command any number of torpedo boats, but it was now too late. I made efforts to do what I could at Charleston, till it became necessary to abandon that city. I then commanded the iron-clad Fredericksburg on James river, until ordered by Admiral Semmes to burn and blow her up when Richmond was evacuated. Leaving Richmond with the admiral, we now organized the First Naval Artillery Brigade, and I was in command of a regiment of sailors when informed that our noble old General, R. E. Lee, had capitulated. Our struggle was ended. All that is now passed, and our duty remains to meet the necessities of the future. After the close of the war I was offered a command and high rank under a foreign flag. I declined the compliment and rec
George A. Trenholm (search for this): chapter 32
uments I could in favor of my pet hobby. Forty boats with small engines for this service, carrying a shield of boiler-iron to protect a man at the helm from rifle-balls, might have been constructed secretly at one-half the cost of a clumsy iron-clad. The Commodore did not believe in what he called new-fangled notions. I retired from his presence with a feeling of grief, and almost desperation. but resolved to prove at least that I was in earnest. I got row-boats from my friend, Mr. George A. Trenholm, and at his expense equipped them with torpedoes for a practical experiment against, the blockading vessels at anchor off the bar. Commodore Ingraham then refused to let me have the officers or men who bad volunteered for the expedition, saying that my rank and age did not entitle me to command more than one boat. I was allowed, sometime after this, to go out alone with one of these boats and a crew of six men, to attack the United States ship Powhatan with a fifty-pound torpedo
e been at the risk of sinking our iron-clads together with the vessels of the enemy. I have ever believed there was no such danger to be apprehended; and if there was, we had better have encountered it, than to have made the fruitless attempt which we did, only frightening the enemy and putting them on their guard for the future. It was my part, on that memorable morning, to aim and fire one effective shell into the Keystone State while running down to attack us, which (according to Captain LeRoy's report), killing twenty-one men and severely wounding fifteen, caused him to haul down his flag in token of surrender. The enemy now kept at a respectful distance while preparing their iron-clad vessels to sail up more closely. Our Navy Department continued slowly to construct more of these rams, all on the same general plan, fit for little else than harbor defence. The resources of the United States being such that they could build ten iron-clads to our one, and of a superior c
Theodore Stoney informed me that the little cigar boat built at his expense had been brought down by railroad, and that if I could do anything with her he would place her at my disposal. On examination I determined to make a trial. She was yet in an unfinished state. Assistant-Engineer J. H. Toombs volunteered his services, and all the necessary machinery was soon fitted and got in working order, while Major Frank Lee gave me his zealous aid in fitting on a torpedo. James Stuart (alias Sullivan) volunteered to go as fireman, and afterwards the services of J. W. Cannon as pilot were secured. The boat was ballasted so as to float deeply in the water, and all above painted the most invisible color, (bluish.) The torpedo was made of copper, containing about one hundred pounds of rifle powder, and provided with four sensitive tubes of lead, containing explosive mixture; and this was carried by means of a hollow iron shaft projecting about fourteen feet ahead of the boat, and six or se
mediate steps for the construction of a large number of small boats suitable for torpedo service, and make simultaneous attacks, if possible, before the enemy should know what we were about. The result of this experiment was represented to Commodore Ingraham. I offered all the arguments I could in favor of my pet hobby. Forty boats with small engines for this service, carrying a shield of boiler-iron to protect a man at the helm from rifle-balls, might have been constructed secretly at one-haesolved to prove at least that I was in earnest. I got row-boats from my friend, Mr. George A. Trenholm, and at his expense equipped them with torpedoes for a practical experiment against, the blockading vessels at anchor off the bar. Commodore Ingraham then refused to let me have the officers or men who bad volunteered for the expedition, saying that my rank and age did not entitle me to command more than one boat. I was allowed, sometime after this, to go out alone with one of these boa
ort the Constitution of the United States. I was kept in Fort Warren about eight months, and then exchanged as a prisoner of war, on the banks of the James river. Being actually placed in the ranks of the Confederate States, I should think that even Mr. President Hayes would now acknowledge that it was my right, if not my duty, to act the part of a belligerent. A lieutenant's commission in the Confederate States navy was conferred on me, with orders to report for duty on the iron-clad Chicora at Charleston. My duties were those of a deck officer, and I had charge of the first division. On the occasion of the attack upon the blockading squadron (making the attack at night), if I could have had any influence, we should not have fired a gun, but trusted to the effect of ironrams at full speed. It was thought, though, by older and perhaps wiser officers, that this would have been at the risk of sinking our iron-clads together with the vessels of the enemy. I have ever believe
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