Coal Torpedo

From the collections of the
Kentucky Historical Society
Accession Number 1976.69.05

Coal Torpedo, 1864

8" diameter

During the Civil War, bombs and other explosives were called torpedoes. This is a bomb made to look like a piece of coal. A hollow container was filled with gunpowder and coated with coal dust. The bomb could be mixed in with real coal and shoveled into the firebox of a ship or train. Secret agents in the Confederacy used these to attack Union transportation.