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Beware, Torpedo Boats!

Friday, October 14, 2022

12:00 PM EDT

In Person | Virtual

Attend this Event


John V. Quarstein
Director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center

About the Lecture

The Confederate Navy was unable to build sufficient capital ships to break the Union blockade of Southern ports. So torpedo boats were developed to attack Union ships at night using spar torpedoes. With vessels like CSS David, the CS Navy damaged several warships. The US Navy, however, was not to be outdone. The most successful torpedo attack was when Lt. William B. Cushing used US Navy Picket Boat No. 1 and a spar torpedo to sink the Confederate ironclad Albemarle on October 27-28, 1864, on the Roanoke River, NC. Once again, in addition to proving the power of iron over wood, the Civil War introduced another lasting change to naval warfare – the power of torpedoes. 

John V. Quarstein

Registration information:

Advance registration is required whether you attend the lecture in person or online.

In person 

Free for Museum Members.
$1 for guests.


This lecture is livestreamed
and free to watch online.

Contact Us

For additional assistance, questions, or support:

Guest Relations
[email protected]
(757) 596-2222

Image header:
“Lieut. Cushing’s Torpedo Boat Sinking the Albemarle on Roanoke River, N.C.” From Naval Battles, Ancient and Modern by Edward Shippen. Philadelphia: J.C. McCurdy & Co., 1883. Library of Congress.

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