|Colonel George Washington Rains|
|General Gabriel James Rains|
|"Lump of Coal" Bomb|
Booby traps soon became part of the Confederate arsenal in the Civil War. Mines were set to explode “in wells, around houses, in bags of flour and carpetbags, and around telegraph poles.”
Later in the war, Gabriel Rains was appointed head of the Confederate Torpedo Bureau. Among his creations was a torpedo. These floating devices were made using demijohns which are large glass bottles with short necks and covered in wickerwork. Once the explosive material was placed inside of the bottles and the fuse was set, the bottles would be released into the James River around Richmond to impede the advancing Federal ships. Besides the torpedoes, Rains claims there were as many as 1,300 land mines guarding the various entrances to the Richmond area.
We frequently lament the use of IEDs by al Qaeda and Taliban forces against our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and rightly so. But let’s remember: these devices were first created and implemented by Americans against Americans in the Civil War. And for that, you have the “Bomb Brothers” to thank!