Friday, October 6, 2017

Booknotes: Gabriel Rains and the Confederate Torpedo Bureau

New Arrival:
Gabriel Rains and the Confederate Torpedo Bureau by W. Davis Waters and Joseph I. Brown (Savas Beatie, 2017).

As he demonstrated on the Peninsula in 1862, Gabriel Rains wasn't the greatest field general, but to his credit as well as for the wider benefit of the Confederate armed forces he (like Joseph R. Anderson) had another particular set of skills that would be found more useful instead. Gabriel Rains and the Confederate Torpedo Bureau tells the story of the general's other more important Civil War career.

From the description: Rains "invented three mines: the “subterra shell” (land mine), the keg torpedo, and the submarine mortar battery (both naval mines). After the Battle of Seven Pines in 1862, he served the Confederacy in two ways, Superintendent of Conscription and Commander of the Torpedo Bureau. He and his men mined the roads around Jackson and the harbors of Mobile, Savannah, and Charleston. His naval mines sank many ships and were more effective than heavy guns." "In 1864, at the request of President Jefferson Davis, he mined the principal roads leading into Richmond as well as the lines around Fort Harrison."

The book has roughly 100 footnoted pages of Rains biography and military service narrative. There are many photographs included, as well as numerous drawings of the many land and marine devices that Rains developed for the Confederacy. A number of lists and documents are also included in the appendix section.

1 comment:

  1. This is a real informative take on one of the most unsung geniuses to come out of the Civil War--second only to his brother George Washington Rains. Author W. Davis Waters is a real expert, and this short but outstanding study proves it.

    Thanks Drew.


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