National Geographic : 1968 Mar
"For a moment, the ships behind her sim ply came to a halt, and that's when Farragut made his crucial decision. The Union fleet surged ahead, passing through the mine field without any more casualties-although the crews below deck actually heard the dreadful sound of mines now and then bumping gently against the hulls. Once through the mine field, Farragut went on to defeat the Confederate ironclad Tennessee" (page 380). I asked where the argument had arisen. Colonel Calland waved toward Fort Morgan behind us. "From the Confederate gunners ashore," he answered. "Some of the men in the batteries reported that Tecumseh carried an explosive charge attached to the bow on a long boom in effect, a fixed torpedo for ramming enemy ships. The Fort Morgan gunners claimed that one of their shots broke the boom, and that Tecumseh ran over her own torpedo. But the U. S. Navy says she never carried a torpedo. Once we find Tecumseh, we'll be able to settle 382 the argument." With old U. S. Navy charts and battle accounts as guides, the Smithsonian team dragged an area northwest of Fort Morgan, using a long chain slung between our launch and a companion boat. Steering parallel courses several hundred yards apart, the launches towed the chain in a wide U across the floor of the bay, 30 feet below us, in an effort to snag the wreck. But neither that day of dragging, nor a second, brought results. Ruptured Seams Provide an Answer Plainly, Tecumseh was buried too deep in mud for ordinary search methods. Several weeks later, Colonel Calland returned with underwater metal-detecting instruments and found the wreck without difficulty. Divers went down to clear away mud and inspect, and found the ship's seams ruptured 60 feet aft of the bow, but no evidence that she had carried a forward boom. Colonel Calland, elated at having learned the truth at last, reported: A Confederate torpedo, not her own, killed Tecumseh.