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Question re: The Battle of Mobile Bay (Henceforth known, forevermore, as the BOMB)

Discussion in 'Civil War History - The Naval War' started by flyfisher, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. flyfisher

    flyfisher Cadet

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    I know the Tecumseh was sunk, of course. I've also read that the Gaines and the Selma were sunk also....that the Confedracy had 3 ships sunk.

    I thought the Selma was captured and surrendered...not sunk. My understanding is also that the Gaines was beached behind Fort Morgan in Navy Cove.

    My question is this: How many vessels are sunk in Mobile Bay in addition to the Tecumseh? Does anybody know where the others are?
     
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  3. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

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  4. flyfisher

    flyfisher Cadet

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    Thanks for the reply. I couldn't get the link to work, unfortunately, but I now realize the Selma was captured...not sunk. (Gotta stop drinking in the middle of the day :laugh1:smile:. I know the Morgan made it up to Mobile so I guess my question should've been:

    Are there any specific records of where the Gaines is located? From what I've read it went down in about two fathoms of water four miles east of Fort Morgan... up in what we call Navy Cove. I got that from Jack Friend's book West Wind, Flood Tide. I wonder if there's any way it's still intact? Would there be any possibility of finding GPS numbers for it. It may very well be gone by now since it was wooden and there have been more than a few major hurricanes since then.

    Heck...if nothing else it might have some speckled trout and redfish on it.

    Hey, at least I can find the Techumseh. Of course, it's right in the channel marked with a yellow buoy...sorta hard to miss.
     
  5. Calicoboy

    Calicoboy Corporal

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    Was the Tecumseh sank by a David? The CSS Captain Pierce. Pierce was dragged out of the water and captured. Said his boat had torpedoed a union ship. Didn't know if he sank it. His boiler had exploded (Davids had boilers); and the rest of his crew was lost. If the Tecumseh was sank by a mine, why did all the other mines fail to explode? I thought I'd throw this out there as I just gave a talk on "U-boats of the Civil War". The David was a class of "subs". There were quite a few of them. Maybe four were active in Mobile Bay during the war.
     
  6. Kazziga

    Kazziga Private

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    I've read about this speculation in Raimondo Luraghi's "A History of the Confederate States Navy". There is even a drawing of the submarine that was captured at Mobile Bay after the battle. It was published in "Harper's Weekly" (http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1864/rebel-john-morgan.htm). However, I have never found any other information about this craft. Could it be the submarine that according to Pierce sunk the USS Tecumseh?
     
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  7. flyfisher

    flyfisher Cadet

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    I've never read about it being anything other than a mine...or even any speculation

    but I'm not an expert. My understanding from what I've read is the technology on the mines was such that only about 10% of them were functional. This was based on salt water corrosion, faulty firing mechanisms etc. Also, the course that Farragat was fortunate and all of the others followed directly in his wake.

    This is from Mobile Bay and the Mobile Campaign by Chester G Hearn:

    Officers of the Hartford and the Richmond could distinctly hear the snapping of Singer torpedo primers as they scraped against the hull, but every one failed to explode. Farragut might not have been so eager to cross the minefield had he known that 90 torpedoes had been planted as recently as August 3 and 4 (the Battle of Mobile Bay was on the 5th of August). When the minefield was swept later that month, one torpedo out of ten was still dry. Farragut had probably been lucky to lose only one vessel to mines. Another theory explaining the admiral's mysterious safe passage through the minefield involved the unexpected change of course to the northwest. The torpedoes had been arranged in quincunx, echelon order, and the point Farragut chose to change course carried him into an open space between three rows of torpedoes.

    I hope this helps.
     
  8. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

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    I question Captain Pierce claim for one the sub was named after him sounds a little cheesy to me. He's pulled out of the drink with two other guys and no one mention if they supported Captain Pierce's claim. I am surprised no ones' went looking for this sub for it should be close the the Tecumseh wreck. The Tecumseh wreck is still there and in shallow water..

    I bet Captain Peirce may have been out there but the same mine that got the Tecumseh got Captain Pierce's sub too....
     
  9. cof

    cof Private

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    William L. Bradford, A very distant relative, was executive officer on CSS Tennessee. Bradford was captured when CSS Tennessee surrendered. William was a graduate of US Naval Academy. Resigned at beginning of war and joined Confederate Navy. I have a picture of William in US uniform. William was from Huntsville, Alabama. Tried to attach photo but failed.
     
  10. C. Veit

    C. Veit Cadet

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    See Mark Ragan's book on Civil War Subs of the Union and Confederacy. The Pierce is beneath the Tecumseh, which, as a war grave, cannot be disturbed.
     
  11. C. Veit

    C. Veit Cadet

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    Davids were semi-submersible torpedo boats, not true submarines. Pierce was a true submarine.
     
  12. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Major Forum Host

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    Old thread. And highly dubious to boot.

    Possibly-related item: a story in the September 24th, 1864 Harper's Weekly read:


    [Image at http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1864/rebel-john-morgan.htm ]

    I consider this story shaky and the supposition that the Tecumseh was sunk by a submersible rather than a mine to be extremely improbable. (Not the least reason of which would be that only a madman would choose an active minefield as his area of operations for a small submersible.)
     
  13. AndyHall

    AndyHall Captain

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    You're feeling generous this evening.

    Fun fact, the Confederate officer who surrendered Fort Gaines before the battle, Charles DeWitt Anderson, lies a moulderin' in the grave not far from my house, as does Louis Trezvant Wig. . . Ow! Stop hitting me!
     
  14. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Major Forum Host

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    That's an analyst's "extremely improbable." :D As in, "and monkeys might fly out of my butt."
     
  15. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Major Forum Host

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    So far as I know, the "Captain Albert Pierce" story first surfaced in the 1960s. Even the "Harper's Weekly" story I consider to be quite far-fetched.
     
  16. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Major Forum Host

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    I was thinking some more about this last night... now, while the story as told is frankly preposterous, there may be a kernel of truth in it. It could be a very distorted version of the experiences of the Confederate submarine Saint Patrick.

    The Saint Patrick appears to have been constructed at Selma, Alabama (although it's equally possible that she was built on site near Mobile, or even shipped by railroad from elsewhere in the Confederacy) under the direction of a man named Halligan. Catesby Jones, the commander of the Selma naval works, telegraphed in November 1864 that the torpedo boat was still not ready for service; but by early 1865, the Saint Patrick was in the water near Mobile. Senior naval officers became suspicious that Halligan and his associates were intentionally prolonging the time needed to get the boat ready for service in order to avoid the draft (while they were working on the boat, they were exempt), and they were removed and the boat taken over by the Confederate Navy.

    When combined Union forces attacked at Fort Blakely and Spanish Fort at the head of Mobile Bay in March 1865, the Saint Patrick appears to have made an unsuccessful attempt to sink the wooden gunboat USS Octorara; the spar torpedo was placed against the gunboat's hull but failed to detonate. However, within the next few days, the Union lost three ships to torpedoes, including the riverine monitors USS Milwaukee and USS Osage. They were lost in an area that had been considered cleared of torpedoes, but the standard (and most likely) explanation is that there were freely-drifting torpedoes in the area that had either been deliberately launched or had come adrift from their moorings. Still, the loss of three vessels in just a few days seems rather suspicious, and there has been a minority theory that the Saint Patrick may have been involved.

    It's possible that, not knowing of the later naval operations in Mobile Bay, this became garbled and grafted on to the much more famous Battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864, and connected with the monitor sunk on that occasion, rather than the two sunk later on.


    ETA Some more about the Saint Patrick here: http://civilwartalk.com/threads/c-s-s-st-patrick-torpedo-boat-submarine.6152/
     
  17. Calicoboy

    Calicoboy Corporal

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    Haven't been around for a while. Like the lively discussion on this subject
     

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