David Bushnell – September 6, 1776

Experience the American dream with today’s Patriots of the Past interview. I’m your host, John Gillespie.

It’s September 6, 1776. I’m with David Bushnell in his invention, a submarine called The Turtle. It sure is hot in here. I can hardly breathe!

JG: “Will the British warship, HMS Eagle, get us?”

DB: “Shhh! John, you’re taking precious air. Ready? Fire! Argh! I can’t penetrate the HMS Eagle’s copper sheathing.”

While The Turtles’ attack and other attacks against British warships were unsuccessful, David Bushnell, the father of the submarine, expressed the American spirit of innovation and patriotism.

In Warrenton, Georgia, the David Bushnell monument shows both an interior and exterior view of The Turtle and reads, “David Bushnell studied naval tactics at Yale, 1771-1775. Designed a 1-man submarine of wood, The Turtle, and invented the propeller. Developed how to explode gunpowder under water using a timed igniter. The Turtle first attacked the HMS Eagle in 1776, but was shortly destroyed by the British. His floating mines were used against the British fleet in Philadelphia in the Battle of the Kegs in 1778. Made captain of Miners and Sappers at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. First commander of Corps of Engineers. Moved to Georgia in 1795 as David Bush. Taught at Citizens, Columbia County, and Warrenton academies. He was a physician for 14 years in Warrenton. Consulted with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Baldwin during his career.”

John and Jan Gillespie are the founders of the Rawhide Boys’ Ranch; they have fostered 351 teenagers and wrote the book Our 351 Sons; they have also assisted numerous churches in developing youth programs and expanding their total church ministries. After running for U.S. Senate, John founded 1776 American Dream, which exists to demonstrate the vision of our founding fathers and help our generation of youth passionately embrace those values.

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