David Bushnell
Overview
 
David Bushnell of Westbrook, Connecticut
Westbrook, Connecticut
Westbrook is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 6,292 at the 2000 census. The town center is also classified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a census-designated place .-Geography:...

, was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 inventor during the Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

. He is credited with creating the first submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 ever used in combat, while studying at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 in 1775. He called it the Turtle
Turtle (submarine)
The Turtle was the world's first submersible with a documented record of use in combat. It was built in Old Saybrook, Connecticut in 1775 by American Patriot David Bushnell as a means of attaching explosive charges to ships in a harbor...

 because of its look in the water. His idea of using water as ballast for submerging and raising his submarine is still in use today, as is the screw propeller, which was used in the Turtle.

While at Yale, he proved that gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

 exploded under water.
Encyclopedia
David Bushnell of Westbrook, Connecticut
Westbrook, Connecticut
Westbrook is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 6,292 at the 2000 census. The town center is also classified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a census-designated place .-Geography:...

, was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 inventor during the Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

. He is credited with creating the first submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 ever used in combat, while studying at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 in 1775. He called it the Turtle
Turtle (submarine)
The Turtle was the world's first submersible with a documented record of use in combat. It was built in Old Saybrook, Connecticut in 1775 by American Patriot David Bushnell as a means of attaching explosive charges to ships in a harbor...

 because of its look in the water. His idea of using water as ballast for submerging and raising his submarine is still in use today, as is the screw propeller, which was used in the Turtle.

While at Yale, he proved that gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

 exploded under water. David Bushnell also made the first time bomb. He combined his ideas in an attempt to attack British ships which were blockading New York Harbor
New York Harbor
New York Harbor refers to the waterways of the estuary near the mouth of the Hudson River that empty into New York Bay. It is one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Although the U.S. Board of Geographic Names does not use the term, New York Harbor has important historical, governmental,...

 in the summer of 1776 by boring through their hulls and implanting time bombs, but failed every time due to a metal lining in the ships' hulls which was designed to protect against parasites in their previous station, the Caribbean. David Bushnell then created the Turtle. The Turtle eventually sank when it was being smuggled away from the British aboard a sloop, and a British frigate spotted the sloop and sank it. In 1777 Bushnell attempted to use a floating mine to blow up the HMS Cerberus in Niantic Bay; the mine struck a small boat near the Cerberus and detonated, destroying the vessel, but not the intended target. In 1778 he launched what became lauded as the Battle of the Kegs, in which a series of mines was floated down the Delaware River
Delaware River
The Delaware River is a major river on the Atlantic coast of the United States.A Dutch expedition led by Henry Hudson in 1609 first mapped the river. The river was christened the South River in the New Netherland colony that followed, in contrast to the North River, as the Hudson River was then...

 to attack British ships anchored there, killing two curious young boys and alerting the British. The attack was ineffectual.

In 1778, General Washington proposed the formation of a new military unit to be known as the "Corps of Sappers and Miners" and in the summer of the next year it was organized and on 8 June 1781, David Bushnell was appointed Captain and was at the Battle of Yorktown
Battle of Yorktown
Battle of Yorktown may refer to:*Siege of Yorktown , last major battle during the American Revolutionary War, also known as the American War of Independence*Battle of Yorktown , a battle during the Peninsula campaign of the American Civil War...

 in the following Sept. and October, the only time the unit had had the opportunity to render special service. He served until the end of the war and before the unit was discharged, commanded the Corps and had become a member of the Connecticut Society of the Cincinnati
Society of the Cincinnati
The Society of the Cincinnati is a historical organization with branches in the United States and France founded in 1783 to preserve the ideals and fellowship of the American Revolutionary War officers and to pressure the government to honor pledges it had made to officers who fought for American...

, an organization formed during the war by officers of the rank of Captain and higher. On 6 May 1779, he was taken prisoner in Middlesex Parish, now Darien, Conn.

After peace was declared he returned to Connecticut then later traveled to France and then settled in Warrenton, Georgia
Warrenton, Georgia
Warrenton is a city in Warren County, Georgia, United States. The population was 2,013 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Warren County.-Geography:Warrenton is located at ....

 where he taught at the Warrenton Academy and practiced medicine. He died in 1824, but before he died David was honored with a medal by George Washington.
David Bushnell's Submarine Model is on display at the U.S. Navy Submarine Force Library and Museum in Groton, Connecticut
Groton, Connecticut
Groton is a town located on the Thames River in New London County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 39,907 at the 2000 census....

.

In 1915, the U.S. Navy named the submarine tender after him and it was launched in Bremerton, Washington. On 14 September 1942, another submarine tender of the same name was launched.

External links

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