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Richmond Ironclads at Trent's Reach
Detail of previous image taken from Library of Congress photo: LC-DIG-cwpb-01767

The USS Onondaga Stands Watch
: Detail

These "launches" are actually warships lying in wait. Visible on the far left is No. 4’s mounted torpedo, positioned on the end of a hinged spar on the bow. Once a torpedo was mounted, the crew kept the spar at a 45° angle, as shown here. When an attack got underway, the boom was lowered so that the torpedo exploded below the water.
   Originally burly Philadelphia tugboats, these launches had orders to charge into the Confederate fleet, torpedo the ironclads, and shove the ships aground. When the attack finally came, almost nothing went according to plan—for anyone.

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