Brooklyn Bridge Opens In 1883

After 14 years and 27 deaths while being constructed, the Brooklyn Bridge over the East River is opened, connecting the great cities of New York and Brooklyn for the first time in history. Thousands of residents of Brooklyn and Manhattan Island turned out to witness the dedication ceremony, which was presided over by President Chester A. Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland. Designed by the late John A. Roebling, the Brooklyn Bridge was the largest suspension bridge ever built to that date.

Did You Know? George Washington Launched a Submarine

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Sept. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The Yankee experimental submarine, code named Turtle, was launched against the British warship, HMS Eagle, on September 6, 1776.  In the attack, the submarine attempted to attach an underwater bomb, but was forced to withdraw when the corkscrew tethered to the explosive wouldn’t penetrate the warship’s hull.   The submarine made a similar attempt later against the HMS Phoenix with the same results.  In the end, however, success was achieved when a standalone torpedo, perfected in the secret program, was used by Colonial commandos to sink a British sloop. Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160831/403054

Details of the submarine’s development were uncovered by examining letters from the inventor, David Bushnell, and correspondence between Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklinand George Washington. You can read about the clandestine program along with British attempts to foil the submarine in a recently published book, “Washington’s Undersea War,” by Shawn Shallow, Gatekeeper Press. Submarine Construction

The process began when a brilliant Yale student, David Bushnell, designed the rudimentary submarine before recruiting his brother Ezra and a local craftsman Isaac Doolittle for actual construction.  Working in secret, they produced a working submarine, round and almost six feet in height, with a brass head containing eight small glass windows.  Early attempts to operate the machine underwater met with multiple problems including total darkness for the operator.  Rumors of the invention reached George Washington who arranged for funds to perfect the underwater machine and train a military pilot, Ezra Lee. On the evening of September 6, 1776; Washington launched the Turtle in an attack of the HMS Eagle.  When unable to attach the underwater bomb, the Turtle was forced to return to the surface where it was spotted by British guards on Governor’s Island New York who gave chase in a rowboat.  In response, the pilot Ezra Lee, detonated the torpedo between himself and his pursuers to affect his escape.  A second attempt followed against the H.M.S. Phoenix with similar results.