Confederate Naval Mines
Mines. or as they were called at the time of the Civil War torpedoes, were a defensive weapon used to protect certain locations from enemy use. Places like landing sites and harbor entrance channels were just right for this use.
The first use was part of the defense of the Aquia Creek Landing, Virginia batteries on 7 July 1861. The position was abandoned 9 March 1862. The battle that occurred there between US naval gunboats and secesh defensive batteries is considered one of the 384 principle battles of the Civil War by the US National Park Service.
The channel entrance to Ft Morgan at Mobile in 1864 was another classic example which has been imortalized in the famous Admiral David Farragut quotation, “Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead”. The USS Techumseh was sunk under the guns of Ft Morgan in 30 seconds with the loss of 94 souls.
Mines came in several types but the main distinction was between the contact mines and the electrically detonated mines. The USS Cairo was the first warship sunk by a remotely detonated electric mine on the Yazoo River near Vicksburg on 12 december 1862 while clearing mines near Haines’ Bluff.
The most successful naval mine used by the Confederacy was called the “Singer Mine”, manufactured by The Singer Company of LaVergne, Tennessee, the same company famous for its sewing machines. Mines were deployed to protect Charleston Harbor and various other ports of blockade runners. Confederate mines sunk 27 Federal vessels compared to only 9 sunk by gunfire.