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(ScTug: l. 45'; b. 10'5" ; dph. 4'7" ; s. 7 k.; a. 1 spar torp.)


Hoyt, a former merchant tug Luke Hoyt, built at Philadelphia in 1863, was acquired 1 July 1864. She and steam tugs Belle and Martin, fitted as torpedo boats, were dispatched by Rear Adm. S. P. Lee to join Union Naval Forces in the rivers and sounds of North Carolina. These torpedo boats were intended as counter-weapons against much-feared Confederate rams rumored to be building up the Roanoke River. Admiral Lee described their armament : "This form of torpedo is intended to explode on impact, and to be placed on a pole or rod projecting not less than 15 feet, and if possible 20 feet, beyond the vessel using it. It contains 150 pounds of powder."


Hoyt took station at New Berne, N.C., waiting for combat opportunity that never came. She steamed north late in May 1865, and was sold 10 August 1865 at Philadelphia. She was a part of the small beginning of a most serious weapon in the 20th century. The Confederacy had first pointed the way to moderate success of torpedo warfare in the Civil War when a similarly-armed "David" damaged the New Ironsides. Union blockaders were much alarmed in February 1864 when the hand-powered submarine torpedo boat H. L. Hunley, armed with a spar torpedo, sank the steam sloop-of-war Housatonic. The importance of torpedo warfare was further underscored the night of 27-28 October 1864, when gallant Lieutenant Cushing and a daring crew of 14 sank the dreaded ironclad ram Albemarle with an improvised torpedo boat. These hardy pioneers east a shadow far ahead toward the enormous underseas combat capabilities of the 20th century.