Destruction of a United States Steamer by a Torpedo.
- The sloop-of-war, Housatonic, one of the new vessels,
was recently destroyed while on the blockade off the Southern coast. The
circumstances of the disaster are these
- “About 8:45 p.m., of the 14th ult., the officer of the deck,
Acting Master J. K. Crosby, discovered something in the water, about 100 yards
from the vessel,’ moving toward the ship. It had the appearance of a plank
moving on the water, and came directly toward, the ship. The time when it was
first seen till it was close alongside was about two minutes. The torpedo
struck the Housatonic forward of the mizzen-mast, on the starboard
side, in a line with the magazine. The after-pivot gun being pivoted to port,
they were unable to bring a gun to bear upon the torpedo. About one minute
after she was close alongside the explosion took place; the Housatonic’s.
sinking stern first keeling to port as she sunk. Most of the crew clung to the
rigging, and a boat was despatched to the Canandaigua, which vessel
gallantly came to their assistance and all were rescued but the following
named officers and men: Ensign E. C. Hazeltine, Captain’s Clerk C. O. Muzzy,
Quartermaster John Williams, landsman Theodore Parker, second-class fireman
Jno. Walsh, who are missing and supposed to be drowned.”
- The rapidity with which this torpedo approached the vessel
would seem to indicate that it ,was propelled by some machinery. Vessels lying
at anchor, on blockade duty, should be, protected by, rafts or booms
projecting from the side, having lines rove through the ends all around the
ship. In this way those incendiary machines would be prevented from doing much
mischief. The arrangement could be made very simple and yet effective.
“Destruction of a United States Steamer by a
Torpedo,” Scientific American; New Series, Volume 10, Issue 11, March 12,
1864, p. 165, New York: Scientific American, Inc.
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