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American History and Genealogy Project

Civil War

Engineers

According to "Historical Times Encyclopedia of the Civil War" Edited by Patricia L. Faust, at the Civil War website: http://www.civilwarhome.com/engineers.htm,
  • "The Confederacy established a Corps of Engineers commanded by 4 chief during the war: Brig. Gens. Josiah Gorgas and Danville Leadbetter, Col. Alfred L. Rives, and Maj. Gen. Jeremy F. Gilmer. Fortunately, the Confederate engineers obtained the services of trained officers who had resigned from the U.S. Army, but they lacked equipment and maps when the war began. Equipment was purchased from foreign countries, captured from the enemy, and manufactured in the South, but deficiencies continued throughout the war. Among other duties, engineer officers energetically prepared maps that were quickly distributed to the various army commands. The Confederacy also organized engineer troops and hired hundreds of civilians and slaves to work on fortifications, roads, and bridges."
  • There are two Regiments listed with the CWSS as Engineers in Mississippi

    4th Regiment, Mississippi Engineers and the Engineer Corps, Mississippi.

    Price, W.H. Co.D Sergeant is the only listing for the Engineer Corps Mississippi
    Arrington, J. Private is the only listing for the 4th Regiment, Mississippi Engineers

    W. H. Price

    Mississippi Squadron.
    Vessels Employed at Vicksburg During the Siege, With List of Officers
    (names of vessels, officers, etc. are obtained from the Navy Register of January, 1863, unless some other date is appended thus (1884), (1885).

    Officers who recieved favorable notice in Admiral Porter's official report, dated July 13, 1863 (concerning the fall of Vicksburg and operations on the river, are marked thus *.

    W. H. Price is listed in , "*The naval history of the Civil War," by David Pixon Porter
    page 294

    Mail-Boat "New National" (4th Rate. Acting Masters, Alexander M. Grand and Oscar H. Pratt; Acting Ensign, J. Hill; Acting Masters' Mate, W. C. Herron; engineers, W. H. Price, James Wilkins and E. C Rensford.

    MISSISSIPPI SQUADRON, January 1, 1863
    (Excepting some of the vessels engaged at Vicksburg.)
    Acting Rear-Admiral David D. Porter, Commander in Chief.

    page 294
    Receiving Ship "New National."

    Acting Masters, Alex M. Grand and O. H. Pratt; Acting Ensign, John Hill; Acting Maters Mate, Wm. C. Herron; Acting Engineers, W. H. Price, James Wilkins and C. C. Rensford.

    Archives - MSGenWeb

    Death Certificate
    EFFIE CORNELIA PRICE- (w/o W.H. PRICE) b.07/23/1876 d.05/27/1941 Parents:GEORGE PARKS&IRENE HILL BURIAL:ODDFELLOWS Cemetery
    This is the only instance of W. H. Price and this may not be the same man given her birthdate?

    Confederate States Of America, War Department, Engineer Bureau,

    September 15, 1863. General—I have the honor to send, in addition to the names specified in my letter of the 20th ultimo, the following list of men, who, by wish of the Honorable Secretary of War, are to be employed in your department, on the special service of destroying the enemy's property by torpedoes and similar inventions,

    These men should each be enlisted in and form part of an engineer company, but will nevertheless be employed, so far as possible, on the service specified above. When the public interest, in your judgment, requires it, details of additional men may be made, eitner from the engineer troops or from the line, to aid them in their particular duties, and they may be furnished by the military authorities with the necessary ammunition. Their compensation to be fifty per cent, of the property destroyed by their new inventions, and all the arms and munitions captured by them, by the use of torpedoes or by similar devices. Beyond this, they will be entitled to such other rewards as Congress may hereafter provide.

    Very respectfully,

    Your obedient servant,

    A. L. Rives, Lieutenant-Colonel and Acting-Chief of Bureau. Approved—James A. Seddon,
    Secretary of War.

    Names of persons in secret service, to introduce R. W. Dunn, E. C. Singer and J. D. Braman to my friends :

    B. C. Adams, Grenada; Captain Samuel Applegate, Winona; Colonel H. H. Miller, commanding regiment west of Grenada and Carrollton ; W. P. Mellen, Natchez ; Major John B. Peyton. Raymond; Judge D. H. Bosser, Woodville ; F. A. Boyle, Woodville; Henry Skipwith, Clinton, La. ; Conrad McRae, Fordocke, La.; W. Barton, Atchafalaya River, La.; J. J. Morgan, Atchafalaya River, La.: T. G. Calvit, Atchafalaya River, La.; James E. Lindsey, Atchafalaya River, La.; William N. Lindsey, Atchafalaya River, La.; William H. Neilson, Atchafalaya River, La.; Samuel Faulkner, Atchafalaya River, La.; Colonel James M. Porter, St. Landry, La.; Colonel Win. B. Davis, St. Landry, La.; Colonel Wm. Offat, St. Landry, La.; Captain James Cappes, St. Landry, La.; S. A. Scribner, St. Landry, La.; Elbert Goull, St. Landry, La.; T. C. Anderson, St. Landry, La.; Simon Richard, St. Landrv, La.; Henderson Taylor, Marksville, La.; 8. L. Tfaylor, Marksville, La.; H. Robertson, Alexandria, La.; 8. W. Henarie, Alexandria, La.; Governor T. O. Moore, Alexandria, La.; Colonel C. Manning, Alexandria, La.; General M. Wells, Rapides and Aveyellos Parish, La. ; General P. F. Kearny, Rapides and Aveyellos Parish, La. ; Hugh M. Kearny, Esq., Rapides and Aveyellos Parish, La.; B. F. Murdock, Rapides and Aveyellos Parish, La.; B. C. Crow, Esq., Lafavette Parish, La.; Hon. John Moore, St. Martin's Parish; William Robertson, St. Martin's Parish; Judge Baker, St. Mary's Parish; T. J. Foster, St. Mary's Parish; Judge Palfrey. St. Mary's Parish ; Daniel Dennett, editor Planters Banner, St. Mary's Parish ; Mr. Sickles, editor Planter's Banner, Kindred Spirits, St. Mary's Parish; Phanor Prudhommer, Esq., St. Mary's Parish ; John Blair Smith, Nachitoches Parish, Li.; Colonel H. J. G. Battle, Caddo, La.; Reuben Whit*, Caddo, La.

    We must help one another, and those who can be efficient in our cause must receive all necessary hospitality, aid and information. I introduce none but the worthy. R.- J. Page.

    Report Of A Commission On Singer's Torpkdo.

    Engineer Headquarters, )

    Depot Northern Virginia, >

    July 14, 1863.}

    Colonel—In accordance with your order of the 13th, appointing the undersigned a commission to examine and report upon the merits of Mr. E. C. Singer's torpedo, we beg to state that we have carefully examined the same, and submit the following report:

    First. "As to the place for exploding the charge." In this plan or lock, hi our opinion, consists the great merit of the invention. The lock is simple, strong, and not liable at any time to be out of order ; and as the caps which ignite the charge are placed within the powder magazine, they are not likely to be affected by moisture ; while the percussion is upon the exterior of the magazine, actual contact with the rod, which acts as a trigger, is necessary; but by mechanical contrivances the contact may be obtained in various ways.

    Second. " The certainty of action'' depends, of course, upon contact; but by the peculiar and excellent arrangement of the lock and plan of percussion mentioned above, the certainty of explosion is almost absolute.

    One great advantage this torpedo possesses over many others is that its explosion does not depend upon the action or judgment of an individual; that it is safe from premature ignition, and at the same time is cheap and portable, while its position in river or harbor cannot readily be ascertained by an enemy's vessels.

    Third. " The efficiency of its explosion, if made in deep channels," cannot well be ascertained without experiment, but would be the same as sub-marines fired by any other contrivance. We are of the opinion, however, from the best informatjon accessible, that if the powder, say 100 pounds in quantity, is within the distance of fifteen feet from the keel of the vessel when exploded, its efficient action is not materially affected by the depth of channel.

    Of course, the quantity of powder required would have to be determined by experiment. Rifle powder, from its more rapid combustion, would l>e preferable in deep water to cannon powder, while some of the detonating compounds would doubtless effect certain destruction to vessels passing over torpedoes at even much greater depth. The peculiar arrangements for firing the batteries would have to be determined by the circumstances of |x»ition and draft of vessels and motion of currents, depth and width of channels, and would require the exercise of great judgment on the part of those intrusted with the duty of placing them.

    We are so well satisfied with the merits of Mr. Singer's torpedo that we recommend the engineer department to give it a thorough test, and, if practicable, to have some of them placed at an early day in some of the river approaches of Richmond.

    General Remarks:—

    The mode of loading this torpedo dispenses with any connection through the case of the magazine, involving no packing of any kind.

    The risk of the lock fouling by sand or mud, if on the bottom of a stream, we think can be prevented by enclosing it in a metal case, which would be nearly water-tight. In narrow streams these could be placed in quincunx, so that a vessel attempting to pass would be sure to come in contact « i! 11 some one.

    The inventor also claims to be able to go to a vessel with one or two and get them in contact so as to explode.

    This can be done, but so much depends on the nerve and daring of individuals that there is no certainty of it. Judging from the success of blasting rocks by powder, superposed upon the rock with a deep column of water over it, we are of the opinion that the depth of water below a torpedo would not interfere with its success.

    Lieutenant Bolton, who saw and blasted a great deal in East River, near New York, says: "One hundred pounds of powder, fifteen feet from the bottom of a vessel, would break her sides or bottom."

    We would add that a proposed adaptation of these locks to the explosion of shell or batteries under railroad tracks, for defences of approach to fortified works, and for blowing up bridges, serins to us very simple and effective; also an ingenious plan for affixing torpedoes to spar or bow Of an Iron-clad.

    We consider the employment of submarines as a legitimate mode of defence, and, as officers connected with the defence of Richmond, feel it our duty to recommend torpedoes as a powerful accessory to our limited means. The moral effect of an explosion upon an enemy would be incalculable, and would doubtless deter them from attempting to bring troops, by transports, to points accessible to the city, as White House or Brandon.

    Respectfully submitted, W. H. Stevens,

    Colonel Engineers. John A. Williams,

    Major Engineers. W. G. Turpin,

    Capt. Engineers. Colonel J. T. Gilmer,

    Chief Engineer.

    Official copy.

    Source

    Civil War Soldiers and Sailors, NPS, Accessed May 13, 2010

    USGenWeb MSGenWeb Archives, Oktibbeha County, Vitals, http://files.usgwarchives.net/ms/oktibbeha/vitals/deaths/death-certificates.txt, Accessed May 13, 2010

    Google Books, The naval history of the Civil War, by David Pixon Porter, Accessed May 13, 2010.

    *Note a few Google reviews have indicated that the Google book is biased.




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