Monday, November 11, 2013

November 8, 1863 (Sunday): Mines in Charleston

Confederate Mine (

CHARLESTON, S. C., November 8, 1863.
Lieutenant L. M. TUCKER,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:
     LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report that on the 28th of October, under instruction from General Rains, I proceeded in company with Captains Bryan and Mickler to obstruct the channel in Skull Creek. In consequence of a lack of oars and the failure of Captain Gray to send them (a telegram having been dispatched from them on the 29th instant), nothing could be done until the 2nd of November, on the night of which we reach Buckingham Ferry. Owing to the near approach of daylight, we were succeeded in putting out 8 wooden-cask torpedoes, within 150 yards of the enemy's pickets. They were placed in position as to render it almost impossible for a vessel to pass without coming in contact. About 2 o'clock of the 3rd instant and explosion was took place, they were unable to ascertain the cause, but think, from the noise and commotion that ensued, a large steamer must come in contact with one of the torpedoes.
     Very respectfully, &c., your obedient servant,

     JNO. T. ELMORE,
     Lieutenant of Engineers, on Special Duty.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 28, Part 2, Page 494.

Confederate mines were an effective threat to Union ships throughout the war.  One key to their effectiveness was the ease with which they could be placed in narrow channels. It would be very difficult to move through shallow, mine infested, waters without incident.


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