Weak maritime nations have always sought to augment the strength of their coastal defenses and navies by the use of “diabolical” contrivances for destroying an invader’s ships. The history of the adoption of the torpedo as a recognized implement of warfare is not unlike that of gunpowder or of exploding shells. Each in its turn was met by the cry, “Inhuman, barbarous, unchivalrous.” During the American Civil War, the Confederate Navy employed submerged mines, called torpedoes, and explosive charges mounted on a long pole referred to as the “spar torpedo” which was bumped into the hull of an enemy vessel exploding on contact.These weapons enjoyed great success during the conflict. In July 1869, the Secretary of the Navy announced the establishment of the Naval Torpedo Station on Goat Island in the harbor of Newport, Rhode Island, for development of a more sophisticated and deadlier self-propelled torpedo. From its founding until the end of the Second World War, the Naval Torpedo Station has been the Navy’s principal center for the design of torpedoes. Newport continues as the home of the U.S. Navy’s most important laboratory for research and development of modern weapons’ systems.
|234 x 156 mm
|15 November 2016
|126 black-and-white photographs
Richard V. Simpson is a native Rhode Islander who has always lived within walking distance to Narragansett Bay, first in the Edgewood section of Cranston and then in Bristol, where he has lived since 1960. A graphic designer by trade, he worked in advertising, printing, display, and textile design studios. After retiring in 1996 from a twentynine-year federal civil service career with the U.S. Navy Supply Center and Naval Undersea Warfare Center, he began a second career as an author of books on subjects of historical interest in Rhode Island’s East Bay with his principal focus on Bristol. Beginning in 1985, Richard acted as a contributing editor for the national monthly Antiques & Collecting Magazine in which eighty-five of his articles have appeared.
His 1989 Independence Day: How the Day is Celebrated in Bristol, Rhode Island is the singular authoritative book on the subject; his many anecdotal Fourth of July articles have appeared in the local Bristol Phoenix and the Providence Journal. His history of Bristol’s Independence Day celebration is the source of a story in the July 1989 Yankee Magazine and July 4, 2010 issue of Parade Magazine.