Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:44 pm Post subject: Landmines as Anti-Cavalry Devices during the Civil War?
Gabriel J. Rains entered the Confederate army in 1861 and was commissioned colonel. Rains led a division at Wilson’s Creek and did good service as well as at Shiloh and Perrysville, and after the battle of Seven Pines where he was wounded. He was then placed in charge of the conscript and torpedo bureaus at Richmond, organized the system of torpedoes that protected the harbors of Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, and other places, and invented a subterra shell [landmines], which were successfully used.
Rains and his brother George became known as the “bomb brothers.” Together they developed torpedoes and subterra shells (landmines).
1863: in response to Federal cavalry raids Rains purposed that teams of landmine crews be formed in order to “put down and take up subterra shells when a raid of the enemy is out, expected, or retired.”
The logic was simple in his mind: “A raid of cavalry must confine themselves to roads, and the details above mentioned can plant in each road subterra shells, perfectly harmless to citizens, until the enemy approach, when the shell can be primed in a moment for their reception. I am confident that if the enemy are once or twice blown up by these means, raids ever thereafter will be prevented.” (Series 1, 28, Part II, p. 371)
What I can’t discover is if Rains’ plan was attempted? Does anyone know? I do know Confederate President Davis supported the proposal.
Joined: Jul 28, 2007 Posts: 53 Location: North of the 49th
Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:01 pm Post subject:
I am re reading the "History of the Eighth Cavalry Regiment Illinois Volunteers" By Abner Hard, M.D. In this book Dr. Hard, refers to the regiment approaching and passing through the earthworks at Yorktown: "the enemy had placed torpedoes in the sand, some of which had exploded and injured an officer and several men, and we were warned to take great care in passing their works". This was early May 1862.
Joined: Mar 04, 2004 Posts: 4926 Location: Suburb of Philadelphia
Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:42 pm Post subject:
before Longstreet heard about them and blew a lid! _________________ I Remain
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Joined: Jun 05, 2005 Posts: 1666 Location: Maryland
Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:59 am Post subject:
The only land mines I know about concerning cavalry was while re-enacting you had the misfortune of following the horses in a parade! _________________ He who finds no pleasure in a naked sword, a falcon's flight, a noble horse, a beautiful woman, has no real lust for life. (Early German Sword inscription)
Joined: Oct 23, 2008 Posts: 21 Location: Rocky Mountains
Posted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:04 pm Post subject: Land mines vs cavalry
That is correct, and the mention in the 8th IL history is corroborated by several reports in the OR (Series I, Volume 11) as Union units advanced past Yorktown in May 1862. Sidney Morris Davis of the 6th US Cavalry mentions them in his memoirs, Common Soldier, Uncommon War as well.
Can't say I've seen a mention of them being used afterwards, though.
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