By Tamara Moser Melia
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Additional info for Damn the torpedoes: a short history of U.S. naval mine countermeasures, 1777-1991
11 “Damnthe Torpedoes’ NH 63872 The Civil War gunboat Genesee is swathed with antitorpedo netting for mine protection. Engraving from Harpers Weekly, 27 May 1865. Confederate mines claimed their first victims. During that month a Union naval mine clearance expedition down the Yazoo River in Mississippi encountered difficulty when boats dragging for electrical wires and contact mines ahead of Cairo suddenly opened fire on floating mines. Mistaking the firing as a Confederate attack on his advance, Lieutenant Commander Thomas 0.
Davidson relieved Maury in command of that service, and Maury spent most of the war perfecting his electrical mines in English laboratories. As his work progressed, Maury‘s mines became more lethal. In October 1862 the Confederate Congress funded a separate TorpedoBureau. This army unit was headed by Rains, who had been experimenting with land mines since the Seminole Wars in Florida in 1840 and had already mined the tributaries of the James River with experimental contact mines. A third group of Confederates in secret service placed the more insidious “coal torpedo” and similar package bombs aboard Union ~ e s s e 1 s .
Near Jamesville, North Carolina, gunboat Otsego detonated contact mines and sank. ” While transferring the wounded from Otsego, tug Bazely hit another mine and went down. Six more mines were discovered around her, and two others were caught in Otsego’s net. The small squadron moved forward slowly, using row boats to drag for more mines. In this manner the squadron found several more mines eight miles upstream and another twenty-one lined up in rows blocking the riverF6 Throughout the war Porter continued to look for novel ways to counter Confederate mines.