, in early times (as in around the U.S. Civil War
), referred to what are today called mines
floating or sunken ordnance
designed to destroy shipping
. The famous phrase "Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead!
" actually is this usage of the term; it was uttered
aboard a Civil War
vessel making a hazardous
run up a mined river.
Spuunbenda reminds me helpfully that the speaker was Vice Admiral David Glasgow Farragut.