Facing an insurmountable deficit in resources compared to the Union navy, the Confederacy resorted to unorthodox forms of warfare to combat enemy forces.
Perhaps the most energetic and effective torpedo corps and secret service company organized during the American Civil War, the Singer Secret Service Corps, led by Texan inventor and entrepreneur Edgar Collins Singer, developed and deployed submarines, underwater weaponry, and explosive devices.
The group’s main government-financed activity, which eventually led to other destructive inventions such as the Hunley submarine and behind-enemy-line railroad sabotage, was the manufacture and deployment of an underwater contact mine. During the two years the Singer group operated, several Union gunboats, troop transports, supply trains, and even the famous ironclad monitor Tecumseh fell prey to its inventions.
In Confederate Saboteurs: Building the Hunley and Other Secret Weapons of the Civil War, submarine expert and nautical historian Mark K. Ragan presents the untold story of the Singer corps. Poring through previously unpublished archival documents, Ragan also examines the complex personalities and relationships behind the Confederacy’s use of torpedoes and submarines.