Engineer in Gray

Memoirs of Chief Engineer James H. Tomb, CSN

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About the Book

Chief Engineer James Hamilton Tomb (1839–1929) devoted almost 12 years to naval service—first in the Confederate States’ Navy during the American Civil War and then in the Marinha do Brasil during the War of the Triple Alliances. A steam engineer by profession and a torpedo expert by circumstance, Tomb was in the forefront of naval weapons technology. He also had the courage and capacity to assume positions of command. His first assignment was on the CSS Jackson at New Orleans. Here, amid a tightening blockade and a growing fear of Federal attack from the Gulf, Tomb’s memoirs begin…
Tomb’s first-person narration is interspersed with explanations from the editor, who also fills in Tomb’s life at the memoir’s beginning and end. Three appendices include documents by Tomb: “Submarines and Torpedo Boats, C.S.N.” (1914), a detailed description of his experiences with the torpedo boat David and the submarine H.L. Hunley, and “Reminiscences of Torpedo Service in Charleston Harbor” (1877). A bibliography and a wealth of rare photographs complete the work.

About the Author(s)

The late Chief Engineer James H. Tomb (1839–1929) devoted almost 12 years of his early life to wartime naval service.
Writer, editor and historian R. Thomas Campbell is a retired health systems consultant who lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania and Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

James H. Tomb
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 214
Bibliographic Info: 116 photos, maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011 [2005]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4926-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Preface      1


Introduction      7

1. The CSS Jackson      11

2. The CSS McRae      25

3. Prison Life at Fort Warren      42

4. The CSS Chicora      53

5. The CSS David      65

6. The CSS Juno      76

7. More Torpedo Attacks      83

8. The CSS Leesburg      91

9. Badly Used Up      101

10. The Cause Is Lost      108

11. Various Official Documents—Part A      115

12. Various Official Documents—Part B      126

13. To South America      133

14. Loss of the Rio de Janeiro      145

15. Adiós South America      159

Appendix A. Submarines and Torpedo Boats, C.S.N., by James H. Tomb, Chief Engineer, CSN      169

Appendix B. Manuscript of James H. Tomb      173

Appendix C. Reminiscences of Torpedo Service in Charleston Harbor by Commander William T. Glassell, CSN      178

Appendix D. Torpedo Service in the Harbor and Water Defenses of Charleston by General P.G.T. Beauregard      186

Chapter Notes      197

Bibliography      201

Index      203

Book Reviews & Awards

“one of the most important Confederate naval memoirs to come out of the Civil War…insightful and revealing…admirable job…McFarland has done the field of Civil War history a service by making this manuscript available to a wide audience”—Sea History; “noteworthy…distinct contribution…extremely well edited…well worth the reader’s time and money”—The Civil War News.