Matthew Fontaine Maury, 14 Jan 1806 - 1 Feb 1873 Search this
With Socle: 61.6 x 36.8 x 25.4cm (24 1/4 x 14 1/2 x 10")
1978 cast after 1869 original
With the start of hostilities in the spring of 1861, Matthew Fontaine Maury resigned his post as superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory and offered his services to the Confederate government. In Richmond, Maury set to work on the development of underwater torpedoes. Others before him had experimented with such electrically charged devices, but Maury was the first American to use them successfully in battle. Secretary of Navy Gideon Welles reported to Congress after the war that the federal navy "had lost more vessels from Confederate torpedoes than from all other causes combined."