Yazoo City, Mississippi
Yazoo City is a U. S. city in Yazoo County, Mississippi. It was named after the Yazoo River, which, in turn was named by the French explorer Robert La Salle in 1682 as "Rivière des Yazous" in reference to the Yazoo tribe living near the river's mouth, it is the county seat of Yazoo County and the principal city of the Yazoo City Micropolitan Statistical Area, part of the larger Jackson–Yazoo City Combined Statistical Area. According to the 2010 census, the population was 11,403; the community now known as Yazoo City was founded in 1824 with the name Hannan's Bluff. It was renamed Manchester changed to Yazoo City in 1841. Yazoo City became the county seat in 1849. A yellow fever epidemic struck Yazoo City in 1853. During the American Civil War, a makeshift shipyard was established on the Yazoo River at Yazoo City after the Confederate loss of New Orleans; the shipyard was destroyed by Union forces in 1863. Union forces returned the following year and this time burned down the entire town. Yazoo City was rebuilt, but yellow fever struck and took more victims in 1878.
On May 25, 1904, a fire destroyed much of central Yazoo City. According to a local legend, the fire was caused by a witch avenging her death. In reality, a boy playing with matches accidentally set a house ablaze; the fire spread, three-fourths of the town was destroyed, including most of the homes. It was stopped by a canal, which saved 10 antebellum homes nearby; the town took two years to recover. The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 did much damage to the entire Delta, but Yazoo City was restored and is now protected by an effective flood-prevention system. A strong tornado, rated EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita scale and with a path width of 1.75 mi, hit Yazoo County on April 24, 2010. Four people were killed in the Yazoo City area, a number were injured; the Governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, toured the area in a National Guard helicopter and held a news conference on the disaster at 3:30 pm. The tornado and the aftermath were shown in an episode of the Discovery Channel series Storm Chasers, several YouTube videos show considerable detail and descriptions.
Around 8:05 pm local time, Yazoo City was struck by two tornadoes: first, an EF-2 tornado 3 mi southwest of town a second EF-2 within the city limits, causing significant damage to several downtown buildings. Yazoo City is located 40 mi northwest of Jackson at the junctions of U. S. Routes 49, 49E, 49W, MS Highways 3, 16, 149, on the banks of the Yazoo River, near the Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. U. S. Route 49W provides a direct link between Yazoo City and Belzoni; the old highway segment, renamed Mississippi Highway 149, passes through Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and the communities of Louise and Midnight before reconnecting with the new US 49W at Silver City, 7 mi south of Belzoni. The new highway makes the town of Carter so near, it might be considered for annexation by Yazoo City. Two bridges now cross the Yazoo River at Yazoo City; the section of MS 3 in Yazoo City is called Haley Barbour Parkway. Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi, grew up in Yazoo City and has a home on Wolf Lake, a lake north of Yazoo City.
U. S. Route 49 through Yazoo City is named Jerry Clower Boulevard, after the famous comedian, a former resident of Yazoo City. Yazoo City is known as the "Gateway to the Delta" due to its location on the transition between the two great landforms that characterize the geography of Mississippi. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.9 sq mi, of which 10.8 sq mi is land and 0.1 sq mi is covered by water. As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 11,403 people residing in the city; the racial makeup of the city was 82.0% Black, 16.1% White, 0.1% Native American, 0.5% Asian and 0.5% from two or more races. 0.7 % were Latino of any race. As of the census of 2000, 14,550 people, 4,271 households, 2,968 families resided in the city; the population density was 1,349.2 people per square mile. The 4,676 housing units averaged 433.6 per mi2. The racial makeup of the city was 28.73% White, 69.68% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.23% from other races, 0.60% from two or more races.
Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 7.47% of the population. Of the 4,271 households, 37.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.5% were married couples living together, 32.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 30.5% were not families. About 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals, 13.4% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.49. In the city, the population was distributed as 29.0% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 17.3% from 45 to 64, 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 112.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.9 males. The median income for a household in the city was $19,893, for a family was $22,470. Males had a median income of $26,109 versus $18,650 for females; the per capita income for the city was $9,251. About 35.0% of families and 40.2% of the population were below
USS Linden (1860)
USS Linden was a steamer acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Navy to patrol navigable waterways of the Confederacy to prevent the South from trading with other countries. Linden, a wooden sidewheel steamer, was built in 1860 at Pennsylvania. Linden departed Cairo 9 January escorting charter steamer Home and five coal barges to Memphis, Tennessee. After convoy duty up and down the Mississippi River, Linden was ordered to cooperate with General Ulysses S. Grant in cutting a canal between the Red and Black Rivers through Tensas Bayou; the project was pressed vigorously but as Porter noted... There were miles of trees to be cut down; the swift current drove the steamers against the trees and injured them so much that this plan had to be abandoned. Throughout the winter and spring of 1863, Linden continued to support operations against the Confederate river stronghold at Vicksburg, she remained above the fortress when Admiral David Dixon Porter and his gunboats dashed under Vickburg's guns to support Grant's campaign from below.
On 29 April with seven other Union Navy ships, three mortar boats and 10 large Army transports, Linden began a feigned attack on the Confederate batteries at Haynes Bluff on the Yazoo River above Vicksburg. The movement was designed to prevent southern reinforcement of Grand Gulf where Grant was about to land his troops after crossing the Mississippi River; that day the expedition proceeded as far as Chickasaw Bayou. On the 30th the task force moved up the Yazoo River, landed troops who marched up "... the levee, making quite a display, a threatening one also." Naval gunfire supported the demonstration until Grant had safely ferried his men across the river and landed at Bruinsburg, Mississippi. The diversionary troops withdrew from Haynes Bluff and the expedition returned to the mouth of the Yazoo River. Grant daringly abandoned his supply lines, drove deep into Mississippi, defeated converging Confederate forces in detail in several spectacular victories before turning back toward the river to threaten Vicksburg in reverse.
At mid-May, Admiral Porter ordered Linden back up the Yazoo to assist the Army in encircling the southern river stronghold and to supply the Union Army. When Confederate troops were cut off at Snyder's Bluff, the Union ships pushed on to Haynes Bluff which the South was evacuating; when these heavy works fell, the gunboat again advanced and began to shell the hill batteries at Vicksburg. On 18 May Linden while escorting five Army transports on the Mississippi silenced a masked battery at Island No. 82. On 21 May, Baron De Kalb, Forest Rose, Petrel ascended the Yazoo River to Yazoo City and forced the Confederate Navy to destroy three "powerful steamers, a fine Navy Yard" to prevent their capture. On the 20th Linden and Forest Rose reconnoitered Quiver River, a boat expedition from the ships captured and burned Dew Drop and Emma Bett; the tireless efforts of both Navy and Army bore fruit when Vicksburg's dogged defenders hauled down the Confederate flag 4 July giving the United States one of its greatest birthday presents, freedom to navigate the Mississippi River from source to the Gulf of Mexico.
In the coming months Linden performed valuable but unspectacular service on reconnaissance and convoy missions on the Mississippi River and its tributaries. On 22 February 1864, while attempting to aid transport Ad. Hines, Linden sank. United States Navy American Civil War This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships; the entry can be found here
USS Cairo was one of the first American ironclad warships built at the beginning of the U. S. Civil War. Cairo named for Cairo, Illinois. In June 1862, she captured the Confederate garrison of Fort Pillow on the Mississippi, enabling Union forces to occupy Memphis; as part of the Yazoo Pass Expedition, she was sunk on 12 December 1862, while clearing mines for the attack on Haines Bluff. Cairo was the first ship to be sunk by a mine remotely detonated by hand; the remains of Cairo can be viewed at Vicksburg National Military Park with a museum of its weapons and naval stores. Cairo was built by James Co.. Mound City, Illinois, in 1861, under contract to the United States Department of War, she was commissioned as part of the Union Army's Western Gunboat Flotilla, which had US Navy Lieutenant James M. Prichett in command. Cairo served with the Army's Western Gunboat Flotilla on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, their tributaries until she was transferred to the Navy on 1 October 1862, with the other river gunboats.
She was commanded by Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote. Active in the occupation of Clarksville, Tennessee, 17 February 1862, of Nashville, Tennessee, 25 February, Cairo stood down the river on 12 April, escorting mortar boats to begin the lengthy operations against Fort Pillow. An engagement with Confederate gunboats at Plum Point Bend on May 11, marked a series of blockading and bombardment activities which culminated into the abandonment of the fort by its defenders on 4 June. On 6 June 1862, two days Cairo joined in the triumph of seven Union ships and a tug over eight Confederate gunboats off Memphis. Five of the opposing gunboats were run ashore during this action; that night, Union forces occupied the city. Cairo returned to patrol on the Mississippi until 21 November, when she joined the Yazoo Pass Expedition. On December 12, 1862, while clearing mines from the river, preparatory to the attack on Haines Bluff, Cairo struck a "torpedo" detonated by volunteers hidden behind the river bank and sank in 12 minutes.
There were no casualties. Like many of the Mississippi theatre ironclads, Cairo had her armament changed over the life of the vessel. To speed up her entrance into the service and the other City-class ships were fitted with whatever weapons were on hand had their weapons upgraded as new pieces were made available. Though the 8 in smoothbore Dahlgren guns were modern, most of the other original weapons were antiquated, such as the 32-pounders, or modified, such as the 42-pounder "rifles"; these were old smoothbores, made into rifles. The 42-pounder weapons were of particular concern to military commanders because they were structurally weaker and more prone to exploding than purpose-built rifled cannons. Additionally, the close confines of combat on the rivers increased the threat of boarding parties; the 12-pounder howitzer was not used in regular combat. Over the years, the gunboat was forgotten and covered by silt and sand. Impacted in mud, Cairo became a time capsule in which her unique, historical artifacts were preserved against corrosion and biological degradation.
Her whereabouts became a matter of speculation, as members of the crew had died and local residents were unsure of the location. Studying Civil War maps, Edwin C. Bearss of Vicksburg National Military Park set out to search for the lost ship using a simple magnetic compass. With the assistance of Don Jacks and Warren Grabau, the ship was found in 1956. In 1960, numerous artifacts were recovered from the ship, including the pilothouse and an 8-inch cannon, both preserved by the Yazoo River mud. With support from the State of Mississippi and local authorities, the gunboat was salvaged from the bottom of the river. Hopes of lifting the ironclad and her cargo of artifacts intact were crushed in October 1964, when the 3 inch cables being used to lift Cairo cut into its wooden hull, it became a question of saving as much of the vessel as possible. A decision was made to cut Cairo into three sections. By the end of December, the battered remains were towed to Vicksburg, Mississippi. In the summer of 1965, the barges carrying Cairo were towed to Ingalls Shipyard on the Gulf Coast in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
There the armor was removed and stored. The two engines were taken apart and reassembled. Sections of the hull were braced internally and a sprinkler system was operated continually to keep the white oak structural timbers from warping and checking. On 3 September 1971, Cairo was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1972, the United States Congress enacted legislation authorizing the National Park Service to accept the title to Cairo and restore the gunboat for display in Vicksburg National Military Park. Delays in funding the project halted progress until June 1977, when the vessel was transported to the park and reconstructed on a concrete foundation near the Vicksburg National Cemetery. A shelter to cover the vessel was completed in October 1980, with the museum opening in November; the original space-frame shelter has since been replaced by a tension-fabric system to provide better cover. The recovery of artifacts from Cairo revealed a treasure trove of weapons, naval stores, personal gear of the sailors who served on board.
The gunboat and its artifacts can now be seen along the tour road at the USS Cairo Museum. These include a sailor's rope knife in good condition. Since salvage, Cairo has suffered degradation due to exposure to the elements, bird droppings, vandalism. There are only four surviving Civil War-era ironclads in existence, USS Monitor, CSS Neuse
Greenwood is a city in and the county seat of Leflore County, located at the eastern edge of the Mississippi Delta 96 miles north of the state capital, Mississippi, 130 miles south of the riverport of Memphis, Tennessee. It was a center of cotton planter culture in the 19th century; the population was 16,087 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Greenwood Micropolitan Statistical Area. Greenwood developed at the confluence of the Tallahatchie and the Yalobusha rivers, which form the Yazoo River. Throughout the 1960s, Greenwood was the site of major protests and conflicts as African Americans worked to achieve racial integration, voter registration and access during the civil rights movement; the flood plain of the Mississippi River has long been an area rich in vegetation and wildlife, fed by the Mississippi and its numerous tributaries. Long before Europeans migrated to America, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indian nations settled in the Delta's bottomlands and throughout what is now central Mississippi.
They were descended from indigenous peoples. The Mississippian culture had built earthwork mounds in this area and throughout the Mississippi Valley, beginning about 950 CE, their culture thrived for hundreds of years. In the nineteenth century, the Five Civilized Tribes in the Southeast suffered increasing encroachment on their territory by European-American settlers from the United States. Under pressure from the United States government, in 1830 the Choctaw principal chief Greenwood LeFlore and other Choctaw leaders signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, ceding most of their remaining land to the United States in exchange for land in Indian Territory, what is now southeastern Oklahoma; the government opened the land for settlement by European Americans. LeFlore came to regret his decision on land cession, saying in 1843 that he was "sorry to say that the benefits realized from by my people were by no means equal to what I had a right to expect, nor to what they were justly entitled."The first Euro-American settlement on the banks of the Yazoo River was a trading post founded in 1834 by Colonel Dr. John J. Dilliard and known as Dilliard's Landing.
The settlement had competition from Greenwood Leflore's rival landing called Point Leflore, located three miles up the Yazoo River. The rivalry ended when Captain James Dilliard donated parcels in exchange for a commitment from the townsmen to maintain an all-weather turnpike to the hill section to the east, along with a stagecoach road to the more established settlements to the northwest; the settlement was incorporated as "Greenwood" in 1844, named after Chief Greenwood LeFlore. The success of the city, founded during a strong international demand for cotton, was based on its strategic location in the heart of the Delta: on the easternmost point of the alluvial plain, astride the Tallahatchie and Yazoo rivers; the city served as a shipping point for cotton to major markets in New Orleans, Mississippi, Tennessee, St. Louis, Missouri. Thousands of slaves were transported as laborers to Mississippi from the Upper South through the domestic slave trade, in a forced migration that moved more than one million slaves in total to the Deep South to satisfy the demand for labor.
Cotton cultivation was developed in these new territories of the Deep South. Greenwood continued to prosper, based on slave labor on the cotton plantations and in shipping, until the latter part of the American Civil War. With the abolition of slavery after the end of the Civil War in 1865, the labor market was changed to one of free labor. Away from the riverfronts, the state was 90 per cent undeveloped frontier. Many freedmen withdrew from working for others. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, many blacks managed to clear and buy their own farms in the bottomlands behind the rivers. With the disruption caused by war and with changes to labor, cotton production declined, harming Greenwood's thriving economy; the construction of railroads through the area in the 1880s revitalized the city. Greenwood again emerged as a prime shipping point for cotton. Downtown's Front Street, bordering the Yazoo, was dominated by cotton factors and related businesses, earning that section the name'Cotton Row'.
The city continued to prosper well into the 1940s. Cotton production suffered in Mississippi during the infestation of the boll weevil in the early 20th century. Cotton cultivation and processing became mechanized in the first half of the 20th century, displacing thousands of sharecroppers and tenant farmers. Since the late 20th century, some Mississippi farmers have begun to replace cotton with corn and soybeans as commodity crops. Greenwood's Grand Boulevard was once named one of America's 10 most beautiful streets by the U. S. Chambers of Commerce and the Garden Clubs of America. Sally Humphreys Gwin, a charter member of the Greenwood Garden Club, planted the 1,000 oak trees that line Grand Boulevard. In 1950, Gwin received a citation from the National Congress of the Daughters of the American Revolution in recognition of her work in the conservation of trees. In 1955, following the US Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated public education was unconstitutional, Robert B. Patterson in Greenwood founded the White Citizens' Council to fight against racial integration.
Chapters were established across
A river is a natural flowing watercourse freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water. Small rivers can be referred to using names such as stream, brook and rill. There are no official definitions for the generic term river as applied to geographic features, although in some countries or communities a stream is defined by its size. Many names for small rivers are specific to geographic location. Sometimes a river is defined as being larger than a creek, but not always: the language is vague. Rivers are part of the hydrological cycle. Potamology is the scientific study of rivers, while limnology is the study of inland waters in general. Most of the major cities of the world are situated on the banks of rivers, as they are, or were, used as a source of water, for obtaining food, for transport, as borders, as a defensive measure, as a source of hydropower to drive machinery, for bathing, as a means of disposing of waste.
A river begins at a source, follows a path called a course, ends at a mouth or mouths. The water in a river is confined to a channel, made up of a stream bed between banks. In larger rivers there is also a wider floodplain shaped by flood-waters over-topping the channel. Floodplains may be wide in relation to the size of the river channel; this distinction between river channel and floodplain can be blurred in urban areas where the floodplain of a river channel can become developed by housing and industry. Rivers can flow down mountains, through valleys or along plains, can create canyons or gorges; the term upriver refers to the direction towards the source of the river, i.e. against the direction of flow. The term downriver describes the direction towards the mouth of the river, in which the current flows; the term left bank refers to the left bank in the direction of right bank to the right. The river channel contains a single stream of water, but some rivers flow as several interconnecting streams of water, producing a braided river.
Extensive braided rivers are now found in only a few regions worldwide, such as the South Island of New Zealand. They occur on peneplains and some of the larger river deltas. Anastamosing rivers are quite rare, they have multiple sinuous channels carrying large volumes of sediment. There are rare cases of river bifurcation in which a river divides and the resultant flows ending in different seas. An example is the bifurcation of Nerodime River in Kosovo. A river flowing in its channel is a source of energy which acts on the river channel to change its shape and form. In 1757, the German hydrologist Albert Brahms empirically observed that the submerged weight of objects that may be carried away by a river is proportional to the sixth power of the river flow speed; this formulation is sometimes called Airy's law. Thus, if the speed of flow is doubled, the flow would dislodge objects with 64 times as much submerged weight. In mountainous torrential zones this can be seen as erosion channels through hard rocks and the creation of sands and gravels from the destruction of larger rocks.
A river valley, created from a U-shaped glaciated valley, can easily be identified by the V-shaped channel that it has carved. In the middle reaches where a river flows over flatter land, meanders may form through erosion of the river banks and deposition on the inside of bends. Sometimes the river will cut off a loop, shortening the channel and forming an oxbow lake or billabong. Rivers that carry large amounts of sediment may develop conspicuous deltas at their mouths. Rivers whose mouths are in saline tidal waters may form estuaries. Throughout the course of the river, the total volume of water transported downstream will be a combination of the free water flow together with a substantial volume flowing through sub-surface rocks and gravels that underlie the river and its floodplain. For many rivers in large valleys, this unseen component of flow may exceed the visible flow. Most but not all rivers flow on the surface. Subterranean rivers flow underground in caverns; such rivers are found in regions with limestone geologic formations.
Subglacial streams are the braided rivers that flow at the beds of glaciers and ice sheets, permitting meltwater to be discharged at the front of the glacier. Because of the gradient in pressure due to the overlying weight of the glacier, such streams can flow uphill. An intermittent river only flows and can be dry for several years at a time; these rivers are found in regions with limited or variable rainfall, or can occur because of geologic conditions such as a permeable river bed. Some ephemeral rivers flow during the summer months but not in the winter; such rivers are fed from chalk aquifers which recharge from winter rainfall. In England these rivers are called bournes and give their name to places such as Bournemouth and Eastbourne. In humid regions, the location where flow begins in the smallest tributary streams moves upstream in response to precipitation and downstream in its absence or when active summer vegetation diverts water for evapotrans
Vicksburg National Military Park
Vicksburg National Military Park preserves the site of the American Civil War Battle of Vicksburg, waged from March 29 to July 4, 1863. The park, located in Vicksburg, Mississippi commemorates the greater Vicksburg Campaign which led up to the battle. Reconstructed forts and trenches evoke memories of the 47-day siege that ended in the surrender of the city. Victory here and at Port Hudson, farther south in Louisiana, gave the Union control of the Mississippi River; the park includes 1,325 historic monuments and markers, 20 miles of historic trenches and earthworks, a 16-mile tour road, a 12.5-mile walking trail, two antebellum homes, 144 emplaced cannons, the restored gunboat USS Cairo, the Grant's Canal site, where the Union Army attempted to build a canal to let their ships bypass Confederate artillery fire. The Cairo known as the "Hardluck Ironclad," was the first U. S. ship in history to be sunk by a torpedo/mine. It was recovered from the Yazoo in 1964; the Illinois State Memorial has 47 steps, one for every day Vicksburg was besieged.
Battle of Chickasaw Bayou Battle of Arkansas Post Battle of Grand Gulf Battle of Snyder's Bluff Battle of Port Gibson Battle of Raymond Battle of Jackson Battle of Champion Hill Battle of Big Black River Bridge Siege of Vicksburg 8 The 116.28-acre Vicksburg National Cemetery, is within the park. It has 18,244 interments; the time period for Civil War interments was 1866 to 1874. The cemetery is not open to new interments; the cemetery has only one airman of Royal Australian Air Force buried during World War II. The remnants of Grant's Canal, a detached section of the military park, are located across from Vicksburg near Delta, Louisiana. Union Army Major General Ulysses S. Grant ordered the project, started on June 27, 1862, as part of his Vicksburg Campaign, with two goals in mind; the first was to alter the course of the Mississippi River in order to bypass the Confederate guns at Vicksburg. For various technical reasons the project failed to meet this goal; the river did change course by itself on April 26, 1876.
The project met its second goal, keeping troops occupied during the laborious maneuvering required to begin the Battle of Vicksburg. The national military park was established on February 21, 1899, to commemorate the siege and defense of Vicksburg; the park sprawls over 1,800 acres of land. The park and cemetery were transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service on August 10, 1933. Of the park's 1,736.47 acres, 1,729.63 acres are federally owned. In the late 1950s, a portion of the park was transferred to the city as a local park in exchange for closing local roads running through the remainder of the park, it allowed for the construction of Interstate 20. The monuments in land transferred to the city are still maintained by the NPS; as with all historic areas administered by the NPS, the park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. Over half a million visitors visit the park every year. Michigan Memorial The National Parks: Index 2001-2003.
Washington: U. S. Department of the Interior. Cell Phone Audio Tour of Vicksburg 601-262-2100 Cell Phone Audio Tour of Vicksburg mp3 Official NPS website: Vicksburg National Military Park Main park map links: 32°20′39″N 90°51′6″W Grant's Canal map links: 32°19′14″N 90°56′0″W Vicksburg National Military Park, National Park Service at Google Cultural Institute
A naval mine is a self-contained explosive device placed in water to damage or destroy surface ships or submarines. Unlike depth charges, mines are deposited and left to wait until they are triggered by the approach of, or contact with, any vessel. Naval mines can be used offensively, to hamper enemy shipping movements or lock vessels into a harbour. Mines can be laid in many ways: by purpose-built minelayers, refitted ships, submarines, or aircraft—and by dropping them into a harbour by hand, they can be inexpensive: some variants can cost as little as US$2000, though more sophisticated mines can cost millions of dollars, be equipped with several kinds of sensors, deliver a warhead by rocket or torpedo. Their flexibility and cost-effectiveness make mines attractive to the less powerful belligerent in asymmetric warfare; the cost of producing and laying a mine is between 0.5% and 10% of the cost of removing it, it can take up to 200 times as long to clear a minefield as to lay it. Parts of some World War II naval minefields still exist because they are too extensive and expensive to clear.
It is possible for some of these 1940s-era mines to remain dangerous for many years to come. Mines have been employed as offensive or defensive weapons in rivers, estuaries and oceans, but they can be used as tools of psychological warfare. Offensive mines are placed in enemy waters, outside harbours and across important shipping routes with the aim of sinking both merchant and military vessels. Defensive minefields safeguard key stretches of coast from enemy ships and submarines, forcing them into more defended areas, or keeping them away from sensitive ones. Minefields designed for psychological effect are placed on trade routes and are used to stop shipping from reaching an enemy nation, they are spread thinly, to create an impression of minefields existing across large areas. A single mine inserted strategically on a shipping route can stop maritime movements for days while the entire area is swept. International law requires nations to declare when they mine an area, to make it easier for civil shipping to avoid the mines.
The warnings do not have to be specific. Precursors to naval mines were first invented by Chinese innovators of Imperial China and were described in thorough detail by the early Ming dynasty artillery officer Jiao Yu, in his 14th century military treatise known as the Huolongjing. Chinese records tell of naval explosives in the 16th century, used to fight against Japanese pirates; this kind of naval mine was loaded in a wooden box, sealed with putty. General Qi Jiguang made several timed, to harass Japanese pirate ships; the Tiangong Kaiwu treatise, written by Song Yingxing in 1637 AD, describes naval mines with a rip cord pulled by hidden ambushers located on the nearby shore who rotated a steel wheellock flint mechanism to produce sparks and ignite the fuse of the naval mine. Although this is the rotating steel wheellock's first use in naval mines, Jiao Yu had described their use for land mines back in the 14th century; the first plan for a sea mine in the West was by Ralph Rabbards, who presented his design to Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1574.
The Dutch inventor Cornelius Drebbel was employed in the Office of Ordnance by King Charles I of England to make weapons, including a "floating petard" which proved a failure. Weapons of this type were tried by the English at the Siege of La Rochelle in 1627. American David Bushnell developed the first American naval mine for use against the British in the American War of Independence, it was a watertight keg filled with gunpowder, floated toward the enemy, detonated by a sparking mechanism if it struck a ship. It was used on the Delaware River as a drift mine. In 1812 Russian engineer Pavel Shilling exploded an underwater mine using an electrical circuit. In 1842 Samuel Colt used an electric detonator to destroy a moving vessel to demonstrate an underwater mine of his own design to the United States Navy and President John Tyler. However, opposition from former President John Quincy Adams scuttled the project as "not fair and honest warfare." In 1854, during the unsuccessful attempt of the Anglo-French fleet to seize the Kronstadt fortress, British steamships HMS Merlin, HMS Vulture and HMS Firefly suffered damage due to the underwater explosions of Russian naval mines.
Russian naval specialists set more than 1500 naval mines, or infernal machines, designed by Moritz von Jacobi and by Immanuel Nobel, in the Gulf of Finland during the Crimean War of 1853-1856. The mining of Vulcan led to the world's first minesweeping operation. During the next 72 hours, 33 mines were swept; the Jacobi mine was designed by German-born, Russian engineer Jacobi, in 1853. The mine was tied to the sea bottom by an anchor. A cable connected it to a galvanic cell which powered it from the shore, the power of its explosive charge was equal to 14 kilograms of black powder. In the summer of 1853, the production of the mine was approved by the Committee for Mines of the Ministry of War of the Russian Empire. In 1854, 60 Jacobi mines were laid in the vicinity of the Forts Pavel and Alexander, to deter the British Baltic Fleet from attacking them, it phased out its direct competitor the Nobel mine on the insistence of Admiral Fyodor Litke. The Nobel mines were bought from Swedish industrialist Immanuel Nobel who had entered into collusion with Russian head of navy Alexander Sergeyevich Menshikov.
Despite their high cost t