BUSHNELL'S TURTLE

The submarine service starts with Mr. Bushnell and his TURTLE. The concept was simple: submerge under a wooden ship, drill a hole in its hull, attach an exploding device and then back off and watch it sink. Here is a picture of the submarine he built.

At the beginning of our Revolutionary War, on the evening of September 6, 1776 Sergeant Ezra Lee manuvered TURTLE under EAGLE, the flagship of Britsh General Howe, and attempted to work the screw and attach the explosive. Unfortunately the screw would not penetrate because he hit the iron bracing near the keel, so he gave up as daylight was appearing. A guard boat gave chase, but Lee jettisoned and exploded the bomb to make speed and eventually got away.

We do not know of any sinkings made by TURTLE throughout the remainder of the war.

The following drawing shows how TURTLE planned to make the attack

 

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