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ere the spar torpedo was used with effect and without the loss of the attacking party, and therefore the only instance to establish the efficiency of the method. On this occasion the Russian sulphuric acid, &c., fuse was used, the same that Captain Glassell used against the ironsides. I commanded the submarine defences as a regularly organized electrical system in all its details and requirements until near the end of the war under the orders of the Secretary of the Navy only, and never heaacts for the use of the future historian. If I had kown of the success mentioned by you, especially the daring feat of attacking the flagship Minnesota in a steam launch, I should doubtlesa have found space for an act of devotion like that of Glassell, but I should not have given to the narrative the graphic effect, which you, as the actor, can throw into it, nor have shown as you may the efficiency of the spar torpedo. I hope that many officers that performed good service with torpedoes,
M. F. Maury (search for this): chapter 1.52
xpected to know much of the details of torpedo operations during such a terrible war as that of our second revolution; but whatever may come from your pen will be received by the world as the highest authority, even upon torpedoes. I know it is too late to correct, unless a second edition be published; but you can answer my letter, and my children will have it to read. The facts of the case are briefly these, so far as I am personally concerned: In the summer of 1862 I relieved Commander M. F. Maury, in command of the submarine defences around Richmond, by written order of the Secretary of the Navy, the result of which was the organization of a department, the application of an electric battery of convenient size and sufficient strength to the explosion of submarine mines; the construction of a large number of wrought iron mines (at the Tredegar Works), holding 1,800 pounds of gunpowder, which were placed at a depth of seven fathoms; the importation of insulated cable to connect
J. Pembroke Jones (search for this): chapter 1.52
of the Commodore Barney, a gunboat, and the loss of many lives in August, 1863, and the complete destruction of the Commodore Jones, a large gunboat, and nearly all her crew in May, 1864. These were the first vessels ever injured in war by any s In a long letter from the Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Mallory, to me after the war, he says: The destruction of the Commodore Jones, the leading vessel of Admiral Lee's fleet, which was ascending the James river to co-operate with General Butler inwell-known officers living who can testify to the exactness of all I have here written, viz: Captains W. H. Parker, J. Pembroke Jones, John M. Brooke, and J. Taylor Wood. I have therefore to request that as an act of simple justice you will answeurred in 1864, as clearly shown in my letter and in Mr. Mallory's words, which I here repeat: The destruction of the Commodore Jones, the leading vessel of Admiral Lee's fleet, which was ascending James river to co-operate with General Butler in the
B. F. Butler (search for this): chapter 1.52
defences. In a long letter from the Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Mallory, to me after the war, he says: The destruction of the Commodore Jones, the leading vessel of Admiral Lee's fleet, which was ascending the James river to co-operate with General Butler in the attack on Drewry's Bluff by causing the retirement of that fleet, undoubtedly saved Drewry's Bluff, the key of Richmond. Again he says: I always regarded the sub-marine department under your command as equal in importance to any divr. Mallory, occurred in 1864, as clearly shown in my letter and in Mr. Mallory's words, which I here repeat: The destruction of the Commodore Jones, the leading vessel of Admiral Lee's fleet, which was ascending James river to co-operate with General Butler in the attack on Drewry's Bluff, by causing the retirement of that fleet, undoubtedly saved Drewry's Bluff, the key to Richmond. How widely different in date and nature are the two circumstances, and yet you, of all persons, confuse them,
G. P. Rains (search for this): chapter 1.52
f your Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, you say: This led to an order placing General G. P. Rains in charge of the submarine defences. * * * The secret of all his future success. * * * Thays when you and I have passed away, and when it will be too late to correct errors, is that General Rains commanded the submarine defences of the South. To him is due the success of this means ofnd of the war under the orders of the Secretary of the Navy only, and never heard of any of General Rains' work, but in two instances. Once, when told that he had placed a self-acting torpedo in second instance was toward the close of the war, when some of these self-acting torpedoes of General Rains were again placed in the James river, and the Confederate steamer Shultz went down the riverat I had to experiment and bring the system to perfection. I never met or communicated with General Rains or any one attached to his submarine defences during the war or since. If your memory sti
Robert E. Lee (search for this): chapter 1.52
es. In a long letter from the Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Mallory, to me after the war, he says: The destruction of the Commodore Jones, the leading vessel of Admiral Lee's fleet, which was ascending the James river to co-operate with General Butler in the attack on Drewry's Bluff by causing the retirement of that fleet, undoubtemarine department under your command as equal in importance to any division of the army. About the same time I received the most flattering letters from General Robert E. Lee, Admiral Buchanan and others on the subject of my services in command of the submarine defences; and it is with painful surprise I find you have forgotten , occurred in 1864, as clearly shown in my letter and in Mr. Mallory's words, which I here repeat: The destruction of the Commodore Jones, the leading vessel of Admiral Lee's fleet, which was ascending James river to co-operate with General Butler in the attack on Drewry's Bluff, by causing the retirement of that fleet, undoubtedly
W. H. Parker (search for this): chapter 1.52
t and was destroyed. During the years that I commanded the electrical submarine defences not a friendly skin was broken to my knowledge, and it must be remembered that I had to experiment and bring the system to perfection. I never met or communicated with General Rains or any one attached to his submarine defences during the war or since. If your memory still fails you, there are four well-known officers living who can testify to the exactness of all I have here written, viz: Captains W. H. Parker, J. Pembroke Jones, John M. Brooke, and J. Taylor Wood. I have therefore to request that as an act of simple justice you will answer this letter and correct the mistakes referred to. Very truly and respectfully yours, Hunter Davidson. Beauvoir, Harrison county, Miss., January 25, 1882. Captain Hunter Davidson: Sir—Yours of the 5th December (in duplicate) has been received and opens with a call on me to do you justice. If you were surprised at not finding in my book your
January 1st, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 1.52
ngth to the explosion of submarine mines; the construction of a large number of wrought iron mines (at the Tredegar Works), holding 1,800 pounds of gunpowder, which were placed at a depth of seven fathoms; the importation of insulated cable to connect the mines and the electric batteries; the manufacture of the plantinum or quantity fuse, which alone was used in the electrical defences around Richmond, and in those at Charleston. The department was completely organized before the 1st of January, 1863, both in personnel and material, and occupied nine well-constructed stations on the James River alone, connected by telegraph, and with the office of the Secretary of the Navy. The effective work of this organization consisted in the partial destruction of the Commodore Barney, a gunboat, and the loss of many lives in August, 1863, and the complete destruction of the Commodore Jones, a large gunboat, and nearly all her crew in May, 1864. These were the first vessels ever injured
January 25th, 1882 AD (search for this): chapter 1.52
his submarine defences during the war or since. If your memory still fails you, there are four well-known officers living who can testify to the exactness of all I have here written, viz: Captains W. H. Parker, J. Pembroke Jones, John M. Brooke, and J. Taylor Wood. I have therefore to request that as an act of simple justice you will answer this letter and correct the mistakes referred to. Very truly and respectfully yours, Hunter Davidson. Beauvoir, Harrison county, Miss., January 25, 1882. Captain Hunter Davidson: Sir—Yours of the 5th December (in duplicate) has been received and opens with a call on me to do you justice. If you were surprised at not finding in my book your name mentioned in connection with torpedoes, I was certainly not less so at your arraignment of me as having done you an injustice by the omission. If you will refer to the preface of the book you will see in the first paragraph the announcement of the purpose for which it was written; and on
February 28th, 1897 AD (search for this): chapter 1.52
Davis and Davidson. [from the N. Y. sun, Feb. 28, 1897.] a chapter of war history concerning torpedoes. The correspondence that passed between Jefferson Davis and Captain Davidson in relation to the services of the latter officer. A letter from Captain Hunter Davidson, formerly of the Confederate naval service, dated Villa Rica, Paraguay, December 14, 1896, places at the disposal of the Sun, a fragment of personal experience during the Civil War, which is also, in its way, a contribution of value to the literature relating to that period. It was originally published in the Buenos Ayres Herald, but will of course find an incomparably greater circle of readers in this country. Captain Davidson entered the navy with Admiral Luce in 1841, and they were together at the Naval Academy, Annapolis, twenty years later, while their friendship was renewed after the Civil War. As to the correspondence with Jefferson Davis, it speaks for itself, although it should be added that Captain D
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