American Submarines: Pre Civil War is a detailed historical perspective of American submarine inventors, beginning with Richard Norwood’s Bermuda Tub during the 1630’s and ending with George Henry Felt’s of New York City, who designed a two-man submarine powered by a treadmill during the mid-1850’s. The collection is primarily comprised of material never before published, including isolated library documents, out-of-print news media, and a number of personal diary excerpts, as well as a collection of photographs, blueprints, illustrations, and paintings. It is the first in a five-part series that encompasses America’s submarine experience from the beginning to the present day.
Though the Union Navy held a numerical advantage over its Confederate counterpart, the South’s forces had one weapon that was not readily available to the North–underwater mines, known at the time as torpedoes. More Union ships were destroyed by torpedoes than by all other means combined.
The South’s superiority in underwater weaponry can be directly traced to the work of an oceanographer named Matthew Fontaine Maury. Recognizing the South’s limited capabilities, Maury persuaded its leaders to develop underwater weapons. This is the first detailed history ever of the South’s development and deployment of both offensive and defensive underwater weaponry. Included are many photographs of actual salvaged Confederate mines.