Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable

Civil War Education, Remembrance and Preservation

CHUCK VEIT

October 10, 2016

“Sea Miner: The U. S. Navy’s Top-secret Rocket Torpedo Program of 1863”

From what I heard of it, he is very organized in his research. More on any civil war naval history is always welcome. There is still a lot to learn from my point of view. I will be interested in seeing his work in more detail, given my interest in the contemporary naval mine torpedoes.

Hope to see more of you folks. -
Stephen Edwin Lundgren
Rarely have I been so mesmerized and intrigued by a subject as I was by Chuck Veit's presentation about the "Sea Miner", a super-secret project to create a "locomotive torpedo" (basically what we would call a torpedo today) for the Union Navy. What started out as a newspaper article about a "What's it" turned into a massive research project for Veit. Union Engineer Major Edward B. Hunt was the brainchild of the weapon. Unfortunately, he kept most of the details to himself, so when he died an untimely death, the project died with him.

Mr. Veit had to completely rely on original sources since no one had ever told this story before. In his presentation, Veit explains step by step what Hunt made and shows how it would likely have changed naval warfare had there been more time to perfect it. Before the presentation I was honored to have dinner with Mr. Veit and two other Round Table members at a nearby restaurant. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and am excited that the PSCWRT is finding new ways to present Civil War history to the public. About half of the audience were non-members, so hopefully this can be the first of many such presentations working in conjunction with the Seattle Public Library and other groups. - Mark Terry
It was great.  He covered a subject entirely new to me.  He made the art of designing and firing torpedo understandable to a laymen. - Jorgen Bader
My dad and I really enjoyed Chuck's lecture. On the way home, I told my dad that I was prepared for everything from a guy mumbling as he read his lecture out loud, all the way up to a high quality college lecture. Chuck exceeded my expectations in every way - it was fascinating information, well-presented, and I was so glad I went!

On the way out to the car, my dad mentioned something that I wanted to pass along to Chuck. My dad trained in college to repair airplanes, and then switched to working with modern submarines. With a background in both fields, my dad felt that the Civil War data on how fast the rocket-powered torpedoes were traveling is probably off kilter. He said that because water is so much thicker than air that it's highly unlikely the torpedoes were traveling as fast as claimed (compared to those modern Russian torpedoes that have a gas pocket around them). We speculated that the Civil War folks probably didn't have instruments set up to measure high speeds accurately. -
Sarah Silvia
I thought the torpedo presentation was fascinating. My daughter invited me because of my technical background.  I'm thrilled that she did because this presentation did not seem to be advertised very well.  There was so much information passed along in such a short time, I wish I was able to hear it again. It's sad that this particular torpedo program only lasted for a few years before the engineer was killed and took all the details with him to his grave.  This was compounded by the documentation being archived away where no one knew it existed.

Thank you for hosting this remarkable speaker. -
Walt Beardsley
Knowing he would be in the Puget Sound region to visit his daughter and her family, Chuck contacted PSCWRT and offered to make a presentation about the 1863 rocket torpedo. And, he followed up to make sure that everything was in place as we got closer to the date. The evening of the event, he met with three board members for dinner at Ray’s Boathouse, and was perfectly delightful.

Although there were some tense moments concerning the projector before the event began, they were resolved to everyone’s satisfaction by Ballard Library staff. When the presentation began, it was obvious that Chuck is a first-rate researcher and storyteller. We even had people “drop in” who had no previous knowledge that we were putting on an event.

If you are thinking about inviting Chuck to speak, you cannot go wrong. He is simply top-notch! -
Mike Movius