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Civil War Torpedoes: A History of Improvised Explosive Devices in the War Between the States

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Civil War Torpedoes

A History of Improvised Explosive Devices in the War Between the States

By John C. Wideman, Michael Kochan

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Format: Paperback, 410 pages
Other Information: 370 b/w illus
Published In: United States, 16 February 2012
One of the best-known quotes of the American Civil War is Admiral David Farragut's defiant order at the Battle of Mobile Bay, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" Farragut was not referring to a self-propelled underwater missile. By the time of the Civil War, the term torpedo was used for any unusual explosive device, including what today we call naval mines, land mines, booby-traps, or improvised explosive devices (IEDs). This war saw the invention, proliferation, and application of a remarkable variety of these weapons, with land- and water-based mines and other exploding devices used for sabotage and terror--notably against railroad bridges--all coming of age during the conflict. Confederate engineers and individual citizens were responsible for many innovations and applications of torpedoes since they were ideal for defence. The Union developed a range of countermeasures, from mounting "rakes" on vessels to driving livestock across mined fields, but to no avail as more Union ships were lost to torpedoes than all other means combined. Civil War Torpedoes: A History of Improvised Explosive Devices in the War Between the States identifies and categorizes, for the first time, the many and varied improvised explosive devices used during the war by both sides, providing a single source for the identification of these devices, their construction, their function, and the manner oftheir use. During the course of their research, the authors uncovered previously unknown torpedoes as well as critical primary sources of information. This major reference is an outstanding contribution to our understanding of how the Civil War was fought."This book provides a valuable contribution to a sparsely documented but critically important aspect of land and sea warfare...[The authors] illuminate many of the practical details of Confederate and Union experiences that bring this subject alive in a way that should be of interest to students of military history."--from the Introduction byWilliam Schneck, Colonel (USAR), US Army Corps of Engineers
EAN: 9781594161483
ISBN: 1594161488
Publisher: Westholme Publishing, U.S.
Dimensions: 23.37 x 15.24 x 3.3 centimetres (0.73 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years

About the Author

EDWARD G. LONGACRE served as a historian for the Department of Defense for thirty years. He is the author of many acclaimed books, including The Cavalry at Gettysburg, recipient of the Fletcher Pratt Award, and Cavalry of the Heartland: The Mounted Forces of the Army of Tennessee, also available from Westholme Publishing.

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