History Talk on the Alligator: The US Navy's First Submarine
On Thursday, October 18, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. in Titusville, NJ, naval historian Chuck Veit will give an illustrated lecture on the Alligator, the Navy's first submarine. The fascinating story of the Alligator, its missions, and its loss, is told against the history of underwater vessels in the first half of the 19th century. This free lecture is sponsored by the Delaware River Greenway Partnership (DRGP). It will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Route 546 in Titusville, NJ.
In the late 1850s—on the Delaware River at Philadelphia and on Rancocas Creek in New Jersey--an immigrant French engineer named Brutus de Villeroi built a submarine. It was to be used for hunting sunken treasure, but, when war broke out, the inventor offered it to the Navy of his adopted country. Although not interested in submarine warfare, the U.S. Navy was willing to gamble on anything that might be able to sink the rebel Merrimack. De Villeroi's credentials were impeccable: he had a lengthy record of inventions and discoveries, and had built his first submarine in 1832. What could go wrong?
Chuck Veit is author of a number of original research books on Civil War naval topics. Copies of his most recent book, Natural Genius, which tells the story of Brutus de Villeroi and Alligator, will be available for sale.
Chuck is a frequent speaker on 19th century naval topics at area historical societies, Civil War roundtables and conferences and has published numerous articles in journals and magazines. He is president of the Navy & Marine Living History Association, an organization dedicated to sharing America’s naval history through the medium of in-the-field events.
The Unitarian Universalist Church at Washington Crossing is located in Hopewell Township about a mile from the river at 268 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road (Route 546), Titusville, NJ.
This talk is one in a series sponsored by DRGP on different aspects of the cultural and natural heritage of the Delaware River and is open to the public free of charge. The next talk in the series is Jeff Marshall, Delaware River Towns: Full of character and full of characters, at 7:30 on Wednesday, November 14, at the David Library of the American Revolution.