Author Topic: Where did the myth of the Confederate rocket come from?  (Read 17886 times)

Offline DiggyCoxwell

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   I was watching an episode of "MythBusters", and saw
Jamie and Adam bust a myth about some 100 mile range
Confederate rocket that was supposedly being designed and developed
in the last year of the Civil War as a 'secret weapon'
of last resort. 

Does anybody have a weblink that will shed some light on where
and when this myth originated?
   
It reminds me of those wacko myths of some Nazi scientists
who (supposedly) invented and built an actual functioning flying-saucer.

Offline bad_astra

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Re: Where did the myth of the Confederate rocket come from?
« Reply #1 on: 12/23/2009 06:26 PM »
I never heard of it. The CSA did build some wacky things, like the double-barrel cannon, and some inventive things, like the Hunley, but I must never have heard this.

How did Mythbusters bust this myth? Was the rocket some giant Congreve thing?
"Contact Light" -Buzz Aldrin

Offline dad2059

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Re: Where did the myth of the Confederate rocket come from?
« Reply #2 on: 12/23/2009 07:26 PM »
   I was watching an episode of "MythBusters", and saw
Jamie and Adam bust a myth about some 100 mile range
Confederate rocket that was supposedly being designed and developed
in the last year of the Civil War as a 'secret weapon'
of last resort. 

Does anybody have a weblink that will shed some light on where
and when this myth originated?
   
It reminds me of those wacko myths of some Nazi scientists
who (supposedly) invented and built an actual functioning flying-saucer.


"...the author Burke Davis, in his book "Our Incredible Civil War," tells a tale of a Confederate attempt to fire a ballistic missile at Washington, D.C., from a point outside Richmond, Va.

According to the author, Confederate President Jefferson Davis witnessed the event at which a 3.7 meter (12 foot) solid-fueled rocket, carrying a 4.5 kilogram (10 pound) gunpowder warhead in a brass case engraved with the letters C.S.A., was ignited and seen to roar rapidly up and out of sight. No one ever saw the rocket land."


http://www.solarviews.com/eng/rocket.htm

Check this out.
NASA needs some good ol' fashioned 'singularity tech'

Offline toddbronco2

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Re: Where did the myth of the Confederate rocket come from?
« Reply #3 on: 12/23/2009 10:43 PM »
   I was watching an episode of "MythBusters", and saw
Jamie and Adam bust a myth about some 100 mile range
Confederate rocket that was supposedly being designed and developed
in the last year of the Civil War as a 'secret weapon'
of last resort. 

Does anybody have a weblink that will shed some light on where
and when this myth originated?
   
It reminds me of those wacko myths of some Nazi scientists
who (supposedly) invented and built an actual functioning flying-saucer.


"...the author Burke Davis, in his book "Our Incredible Civil War," tells a tale of a Confederate attempt to fire a ballistic missile at Washington, D.C., from a point outside Richmond, Va.

According to the author, Confederate President Jefferson Davis witnessed the event at which a 3.7 meter (12 foot) solid-fueled rocket, carrying a 4.5 kilogram (10 pound) gunpowder warhead in a brass case engraved with the letters C.S.A., was ignited and seen to roar rapidly up and out of sight. No one ever saw the rocket land."


http://www.solarviews.com/eng/rocket.htm

Check this out.

Should have finished the quote:
"No one ever saw the rocket land. It's interesting to speculate whether, almost 100 years before Sputnik, a satellite marked with the initials of the Confederate States of America might have been launched into orbit."

Made it to orbit, huh?  Um....I'm going to say NO!

Offline DiggyCoxwell

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Re: Where did the myth of the Confederate rocket come from?
« Reply #4 on: 12/24/2009 12:13 AM »
  A 12 foot long solid-fuel rocket fired by the Rebs?
If it's true, the size is impressive for that day and age.

It probably achieved a range over a mile maybe two or three
and 'disappeared'. (wink)

But seriously, what was the level of technology available to the Confederates?
  1) Isaac Newton's theories were well known.
  2) Bessemer steel was just emerging as a technology.
  3) Logarithmic tables had been known for over 200 years.
  4) Guncotton high-explosive/propellant was available.
  5) Spin stabilization was well-known.
  6) Basic thermodynamic laws, principles & equations had been
known for a few years.
   7) Metal lathes were in use.
   8) And some aerodynamic principles were understood.

But that was not nearly enough for a 100 mile range rocket.


The Confederates would have been better served developing
a 120 foot long segmented, rifled large-bore gun barrel, using guncotton propellant, instead of a 12 foot long rocket.
Witha 120 foot gun they could have achieved a range greater
than the WW1 Big Bertha.
BTW, the Big Bertha shells were the first objects to climb
into the hard vacuum upto 40km up. The edge of space?


Offline Will

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Re: Where did the myth of the Confederate rocket come from?
« Reply #5 on: 12/24/2009 03:08 PM »
It's a steampunk hoax from 1958

http://www.amazon.com/Civil-War-Strange-Fascinating-Facts/dp/0517371510#reader_0517371510

It seems clear to me that Burke Davis didn't believe the story, but thought it was too good a yarn to leave out.
« Last Edit: 12/24/2009 03:10 PM by Will »

Offline joema

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Re: Where did the myth of the Confederate rocket come from?
« Reply #6 on: 12/25/2009 03:26 AM »
...But that was not nearly enough for a 100 mile range rocket....

To help illustrate that, consider the MLRS M26 rocket: http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/m26.htm

It's roughly the size of the alleged Confederate rocket, yet only has a 20 mile range. An extended range version of the M26 could reach 26 miles.

If modern technology could only produce an approx 12 ft. unguided rocket with a 26 mile range, it seems unlikely the CSA rocket would fly 100 miles.

Online butters

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Re: Where did the myth of the Confederate rocket come from?
« Reply #7 on: 12/25/2009 05:22 PM »
I never heard of it. The CSA did build some wacky things, like the double-barrel cannon, and some inventive things, like the Hunley, but I must never have heard this.

How did Mythbusters bust this myth? Was the rocket some giant Congreve thing?

They built a hybrid rocket with paraffin/graphite fuel, nitrous oxide, and guncotton ignition in steel pipe.  It was sorta impressive for a quick build, but the range was more like a quarter mile than 100 miles.

I recommend hunting around for it on the net.  The episode name is "confederate rocket".

They did another episode on hybrid rockets using salami as the fuel and paintball gun bottles as pressure chambers, but it didn't work as well.  I wished they had redone the paraffin-fueled hybrid with the lightweight paintball bottles.

Offline Space Possum

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Re: Where did the myth of the Confederate rocket come from?
« Reply #8 on: 12/25/2009 10:14 PM »
Finally! A topic on this forum that touches my area of work and study!

Oddly, there was a Confederate Rocket Corps which was ,at first, a part of the CSA Signal Corps. They used rockets similar to those used in the War of 1812...you know...the ones mentioned in The Star Spangled Banner.

The rockets were unreliable and inaccurate compared to conventional artillery of the time, so the Corps was soon disbanded. This might be the source of this legend.

But you've got to admit, Confederate Rocket Corps is a pretty cool name!  ;D

Offline mike robel

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Re: Where did the myth of the Confederate rocket come from?
« Reply #9 on: 12/25/2009 10:41 PM »
Oh, I don't know.  Just in case you have never seen it, here is the CAF's Titan Missile.

http://www.notduck.com/08/confederatemissile08.html


Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Where did the myth of the Confederate rocket come from?
« Reply #10 on: 02/26/2018 05:07 PM »
Interestingly there were Rocket Battalion forces on both the Union and Confederate Armies.

The Union side has the most write-ups on it. General Barry's New York Rocket Battalion which was the first Union force to be issued rockets. 

Offline Yeknom-Ecaps

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Re: Where did the myth of the Confederate rocket come from?
« Reply #11 on: 02/26/2018 05:12 PM »
Prior to the Civil War there were rockets in the Mexican war. It seems old Robert E. Lee knew something about rocketry...

On December 4, 1846, a brigade of rocketeers was authorized to accompany Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott's expedition against Mexico. The Army's first battalion of rocketeers -- consisting of about 150 men and armed with about 50 rockets -- was placed under the command of First Lieutenant George H. Talcott.
The rocket battery was used March 24, 1847, against Mexican forces at the siege of Veracruz.
On April 8 the rocketeers moved inland, being placed in their firing position by Captain Robert E. Lee (later to command the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the War Between the States). About 30 rockets were fired during the battle for Telegraph Hill. Later, the rockets were used in the capture of the fortress of Chapultepec, which forced the surrender of Mexico City.
With typical foresight, as soon as the fighting in Mexico was over, the rocketeer battalion was disbanded and the remaining rockets were placed in storage.

Offline Arch Admiral

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Re: Where did the myth of the Confederate rocket come from?
« Reply #12 on: 02/28/2018 04:25 AM »
The Mexican War and Civil War rockets were of the Hale spin-stablized design, a British improvement on the Congreve stick-stabilized design. They were still wildly inaccurate compared with a smoothbore gun, much less the rifled field artillery produced in the Civil War. Like all handmade black powder rockets they were extremely dangerous to make and use. Both North and South decided they had better use for their gunpowder.

The first Confederate rocket battery was formed by General P. G. T. Beauregard in Virginia, without authorization from the War Department in Richmond. This started the feud between Beauregard and CSA President Jefferson Davis, which led to the general being removed from field command and exiled to coast defense duty in South Carolina. Some historians say this was the dumbest command decision Davis made, so maybe rockets did influence the war.

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