Land torpedo is an obsolete term for land mine.

During the American Civil War, the first modern mechanically fused high explosive anti-personnel land mines were created by Confederate troops of Brigadier General Gabriel J. Rains during the Battle of Yorktown in 1862. As a Captain, Rains had earlier employed explosive booby traps during the Seminole Wars in Florida in 1840. Both mechanically and electrically fused "land torpedoes" were employed, although by the end of the war mechanical fuses had been found to be generally more reliable. Many of these designs were improvised in the field, especially from explosive shells, but by the end of the war nearly 2,000 standard pattern "Rains mines" had been deployed.

Land torpedo in The Guns of the SouthEdit

While Confederate troops such as Sgt. Nate Caudell were familiar with land torpedoes, they came across unfamiliar types during the battle for Rivington against the Rivington Men. One that killed Major J.P. Strange made a small popping sound before exploding and tearing the major in half.[1] Later, a young lieutenant was literally blown out of his shoes by another type of torpedo when he tried to force the door of the shed the Rivington Men were making a final stand. Curiously, the blast was only in one direction, outward from the door.[2]


  1. The Guns of the South, pg. 522, PB.
  2. Ibid., pg. 524.

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