When I took charge of the Georgia Room, in the Confederate Museum, in Richmond, Virginia in 1897, I found among the De Renne collection an engraving of the pleasant, intellectual face of Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury, so I went to his son, Colonel Richard L. Maury, who had been with his father in all his work here, and urged him to write the history of it, while memory, papers and books could be referred to; this carefully written, accurate paper was the result.
ing electrical torpedoes, to which Captain Maury attached the most importance and greatly preferred, seemed insuperable, until by a remarkable piece of good fortune, in the following spring, it happened that the enemy, attempting to lay across Chesapeake Bay were forced to abandon the attempt and left their wire to the mercy of the waves, which cast it upon the beach near Norfolk, where, by the kindness of a friend, it was secured for Captain Maury's use. With part of this he connected his mines in James River, below the obstructions, with the shore stations, which afterward destroyed the "Commodore Barney," and later the "Commodore Jones," and with part enabled other Southern ports to be similarly protected.
Of his James River torpedoes, Captain Maury thus reported to the Secretary of the Navy:
Richmond, June 19th, 1862.
Sir,--The James River is mined with fifteen tanks below the Iron Battery at Chaffin's Bluff. They are to be exploded by means of Electricity. Four of the tanks contain 1
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