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.
Advance registration is required whether you attend the lecture in person or online.
Free for Museum Members.
$1 for guests.
This lecture is livestreamed
and free to watch online.
For additional assistance, questions, or support:
Can’t Attend the Lecture?
No problem! Many of our programs and lectures are uploaded to our YouTube Channel shortly afterward.
“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.