Editor’s Note: Do you have information on this ship’s role at the Siege of Petersburg?  Please contact us using the Contact button in the menu at the top of the screen.  We are happy to exchange information with other researchers.

Ship Information (from DANFS)1,2:

Name: CSS Torpedo Type: Screw Steamer Tonnage: 150
Length: 70’ Beam: 16’ Draught: Not Listed.
Speed: Not Listed. Complement: Not Listed. Class: Not Listed.
Armament: April 30 and November 5, 1864: 1 gun

November 1864:  2 20-pdr. Parrott rifles on pivots

Namesake: Not Listed.

Images:

Image Needed

 

Captain(s):
Lieutenant J. Pembroke Jones
Captain Image

Lieutenant Ivey Foreman
Captain Image

Lieutenant Thomas P. Bell
Captain Image

Acting Master Peter W. Smith
Captain Image

Captain 5
Captain Image

 

First Offensive Order of Battle (June 13-18, 1864):

  • Not Currently a Warship

Second Offensive Order of Battle (June 19-30, 1864):

  • Not Currently a Warship

Third Offensive Order of Battle (July 1-31, 1864):

  • Not Currently a Warship

Fourth Offensive Order of Battle (August 1-31, 1864):

  • Not Currently a Warship

Fifth Offensive Order of Battle (September 1-October 13, 1864):

  • Not Currently a Warship

Sixth Offensive Order of Battle (October 14-31, 1864):

  • Not Currently a Warship

Seventh Offensive Order of Battle (November 1-December 31, 1864): James River Naval Squadron | Confederate Navy3,4

  • Captain:
    • Lieutenant J. Pembroke Jones (November 1864)5
    • Lieutenant Ivey Foreman (November 18, 1864 on)6
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
    • 1 x “gun” (November 5, 1864)7
    • 2 x 20-pdr. Parrott rifles on pivots (November 1864)8
  • Note: This ship is noted as a “gunboat.”9,10

Eighth Offensive Order of Battle (January 1-February 28, 1865): James River Naval Squadron | Confederate Navy11,12

  • Captain:
    • Lieutenant Thomas P. Bell (January 1-21 & 23-24, 1865) (ill January 22, 1865)(abandoned his ship January 24, 1865)13
    • Acting Master Peter W. Smith (January 22, 24-31, 1865)14
    • Not Listed. (February 1865)15
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: This ship is noted as a “gunboat.”16

Ninth Offensive Order of Battle (March 1-April 2, 1865): James River Naval Squadron | Confederate Navy17

  • Captain: Not Listed. (March & April 1865)18
  • Crew Strength:
  • Armament:
  • Note: This ship is noted as a “gunboat.”19

 

Siege of Petersburg Battles:

 

Siege of Petersburg Involvement:20

Torpedo, a screw steamer, was placed under the command of Lt. H. Davidson, CSN, and attached to the squadron of Flag Officer S. Barron, CSN. She served only in the James River as a torpedo boat tender.

Early in July 1863 she was stripped of her guns and made a flag-of-truce boat by Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States, who hoped to bear a written communication from Jefferson Davis to Abraham Lincoln. Stephens’ request to carry the message to Washington on the Torpedo was refused.

She was cited as being in charge of James River submarine batteries in November 1863.

Torpedo’s guns were remounted and she participated in the James River operations, including the attempted passage of the obstructions in Trent’s Reach, 23-24 January 1865.

Torpedo was partially burned and sunk on 3 April 1865 to prevent her capture by the Union forces who entered Richmond. She was raised and sent to Norfolk Navy Yard in May 1865.

 

Bibliography:

    Siege of Petersburg Documents Which Mention This Unit:

    Sources:

    1. “DANFS.” Naval History and Heritage Command, www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs.html.
    2. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 269
    3. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 161
    4. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 170
    5. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 161
    6. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 161
    7. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 269
    8. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, p. 269
    9. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 161
    10. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 170
    11. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 179
    12. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 189
    13. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 179
    14. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 179
    15. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 189
    16. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 179
    17. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 198
    18. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 198
    19. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 198
    20. “Torpedo (screw steamer).” Naval History and Heritage Command, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/confederate_ships/torpedo-screw-steamer.html.

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