Rebel Submarine


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 30, 1864

This site features an online archive of our collection of original Harper's Weekly newspapers. Harper's weekly was the most important source of news during the Civil War. Today, these newspapers are used by serious students and researchers go gain deeper insights into the war.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)




Slave Children

Slave Children

Gilmore Shells Charleston

White Slavery

Armstrong Gun

Armstrong Gun

Rebel Submarine

Rebel Submarine

Launch of the Minotaur

Remington Revolver Ad

Soldier in the Snow

White Slaves

White Slaves

New York's Central Park

Central Park





JANUARY 30, 1864.]





WE give above an illustration representing one of our war steamers, the Eutaw, now in the Washington Navy Yard. She is one of the only class of side-wheel steamers constructed by the Naval Department, and known as a double-ender. Several charges having lately been brought against the Department for building slow steamers, Secretary Welles has proposed, for the purpose of a trial, a match between the Eutaw and the fastest side-wheel steamer which the country can bring against her. This challenge was about a week ago read before the Chamber of Commerce, which body did not feel disposed to accept it. The tonnage of the Eutaw is 974, and her draught eight feet six inches, and the Secretary claims for her that she will run against the same draught and tonnage in any water. Her length is 254 feet; she has a direct-acting engine with a cylinder 58 inches in diameter. Several very interesting experiments have been carried on on board of this vessel with super-heated steam, and on the evaporative powers

of the boilers with a steam jet. She is commanded by Commander HOMER C. BLAKE, who, it will be remembered, was in command of the Hatteras when she fought the rebel privateer Alabama. Commander Blake, although a young officer, is one of the most promising in our naval service, and deserves to have a fast ship.


A M. OLIVIER DE JALIN sends to the French Le Monde Illustre drawings of a submarine vessel which we reproduce on this page, abridging his description. There has just been finished, he says, at Mobile a very curious little vessel, designed by Mr. Anstilt, which seems capable of destroying any ship in the world. It is of iron, 23 yards long. The interior is divided longitudinally by a partition into two portions: in the upper one are the machinery, armament, rudders, and reservoirs of compressed air; in the lower are chambers to hold air or water, as the case may demand, coal-bunkers, provision-lockers,

and the like. On the deck, which is hermetically closed, are pipes for discharging air and steam, a smoke-stack, and a look-out, the upper part of which is of thick glass. The motive-power is a screw, worked either by steam or by electricity. At the stern is an ordinary rudder; at the bows another rudder, working on a horizontal axis, the object of which is to raise or lower the vessel. Now when no enemy is in sight the air-chambers are filled, and the vessel is managed like any other steamer. But when an enemy is in view the air-chambers are filled with water; down goes the vessel, and nobody is the wiser for its presence. Her perpendicular course is determined by the bow rudder, just as her horizontal course is regulated by her stern rudder. Turn it one way, and up she goes; turn it the other, and down she sinks. A pressure-gauge shows just the depth to which she has at any moment sunk. The man in the glass look-out governs the movement of the vessel. If it is sunk three feet below the surface it is invisible. On each side of the deck are placed iron cases filled with powder, joined two-and-two by chains of proper length. If

a vessel lying at anchor is to be attacked, the submarine boat dives down, lets slip one of these twin torpedoes directly under the enemy; these rise by their specific gravity, and hug the enemy, one on each side, but kept from escape by the chain which, passing under the keel, unites them. The submarine, having accomplished her work, backs off to a safe distance, explodes these torpedoes by means of a galvanic battery, and up goes the enemy, in more pieces than one can well count. If a vessel under sail or steam is to be assaulted, the submarine dives down and lies hidden right under the track of her foe; then at the exact moment loosens a torpedo furnished with a percussion apparatus; the enemy strikes this, explodes it, and up she goes past all hope of redemption. The submarine, in the mean time, has dived down into the water so deep as to he quite safe from the shock which she has occasioned. "I can't stop to describe to you," concludes M. Olivier de Jalin, "the system of pumps to drive out the foul air, the air and water-pipes by means of which, with the aid of the compressed air, the air-tanks may in a few moments be filled with (Next page)

A. Engine-Room.C. Smoke-Stack.D. Munition-Room.E. Coal-Bunkers.F. Look-Out.1. 1, 1. Compartments for Air or Water.0, 0, 0. Compartments for Compressed Air.



Gunboat Eutaw
Rebel Submarined

Also See the Harper's Weekly Article on an Even Earlier example of a Confederate Submarine

Also See our Story on the Confederate Submarine CSS Hunley




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