This Week in the Civil War - 672

Oct 4, 2013

On Monday, October 5, 1863 at Charlestown, South Carolina the Confederates carried out a daring naval raid against the blockading Union fleet.  At approximately ten o’clock on a hazy October night, the CSS David, a torpedo boat commanded by Commodore W.T. Glassell, rammed her torpedo into the side of the unsuspecting, wooden hulled ironclad the U.S.S. New Ironsides.  

A tremendous blast rocked the New Ironsides, doing severe damage but not sinking her.  The explosion nearly swamped the smaller David, temporarily extinguishing her boilers.  Glassell and one crewman were captured, but the remaining two David crewmen managed to rekindle her fires and sailed triumphantly back to Charlestown. 

Federal authorities had to recognize a new force in naval warfare; the torpedo, effectively delivered, could do substantial damage to a blockading fleet.