George S. Greene, Manuscript signed, titled Submarine Mining


Greene’s Son was Aboard the Monitor During the Merrimac Battle

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George S. Greene, Manuscript signed, titled Submarine Mining

Greene sets out a plan for using monitors to lay and detonate mines on the seabed, in order to clear enemy mines or other obstructions.  He explains at length how an air-tight “pneumatic chamber” and cables would allow for placement of mines, retreat of the carrying vessel to a safe distance, and detonation by means of “galvanic conductors.” He notes that such an operation could be repeated and advanced “until the channel is cleared. I believe this is the first attempt to open a channel by successive mining in face of [enemy] batteries. I believe it can be successfully accomplished. The details are not difficult & can be readily arranged.  The chambers should be large enough to accommodate 2 men and a cylinder with 3 or 400 pounds of powder.”

Two simple sketches, both on the first page, show a cutaway of the bow and an overhead view, with letters (keyed to the text) indicating the main features of the “pneumatic chamber.”  Noted by Greene in the uppermost left corner of the first page, “Given J.N. Amory Esq. June 13 63.”

Greene, a prominent civil engineer before the war, had a son who was executive officer on the Monitor during its fight with the Merrimack, a fact which may have fathered this scheme.  From the collection of author Wiley Sword, with a copy of Blue & Gray magazine in which he quotes and discusses this remarkable proposal. 

Some marg. toning, fold wear/soiling w/ minuscule holing, but v.g.

Greene, George S.  (Brig. Genl., U.S.V.; distinguished at Gettysburg).  Manuscript, signed (“G S Greene”), titled Submarine Mining  and incorporating  two  schematic  sketches.  On letterhead of H.Q., 3rd Brig., 2nd Div., 12th A.C.  “Camp Aquia Creek Landing” (Va.): 12 June 1863.  4to., 3-1/3p.