Welcome to ChuckVeitBooks.com! This is my official author website, where you will find descriptions and reviews of my growing number of original works. The research I present in each of my books is entirely unique; you will not find these stories anywhere else. I own a number of excellent volumes written by outstanding authors that deal very well with already-familiar topics such as Monitor & Merrimack, Mobile Bay, and Vicksburg; the world does not need my opinion or rehash of these episodes. But folks might well be interested in The Great Navy Cattle Drive, the salvage of USS Missouri, the First Battle of Pittsburg Landing, the Yankee Expedition to Sebastopol, and, most especially, the Navy's ultra-secret self-propelled torpedo program of 1862 and its first submarine. So, if you're looking for something new and very different, you've found it!

Talks & Presentations              Email the author               Magazine Publications

Descriptions & Reviews
Natural Genius - Sea Miner  -  A Dog Before a Soldier  - Raising Missouri  - Yankee Expedition to Sebastopol  - Upon the Best Authority  - USNLP Handbook

Additional (full) reviews

As the U.S. Navy raced in 1861 to build its own ironclad to counter CSS Virginia, a private citizen―an immigrant Frenchman speaking little or no English―offered another solution: a bateau sous-marin or submarine boat. Long-recognized in his native France as an “Engineer of the First Class” for his numerous inventions, Brutus de Villeroi had the experience of having built two previous submarines. Although frowned upon by every navy as “ungentlemanly” at best, illegal at worst, investing in the unique weapon seemed a small investment compared to the possible return; what is more, local civilians agreed to fund the work, with Washington paying only upon acceptance of the boat. Overall, it seemed a good idea. Unfortunately, nothing went as smoothly as everyone naïvely expected.

Here is the long-awaited tale of the U.S. Navy's first submarine, Alligator―the details of her construction, how she worked, her attempted missions, and ultimate loss. Moreover, this is the life story of Brutus de Villeroi. To understand Alligator, it is necessary to understand her designer. His innovations are undeniable: the first double-hulled ballast tank, bow hydroplanes, and a diver's lockout chamber. These should be no surprise for someone who listed his occupation in the 1860 census as "natural genius," but was this greatest of his inventions more than he could handle? (original letters & transcription page)


"Chuck Veit has done it again with a masterful story of French inventor Brutus de Villeroi and the challenges of the U.S. Navy's first submarine during the Civil War! Thoroughly researched and very informative. Well worth a deep dive into this key piece of submarine history!"  (RAdm Jay Deloach, USN (ret.)


2016 IPNE Winner in the Narrative Non-fiction category

Sea Miner is the painstakingly reconstructed story of the U.S. Navy's first sponsored torpedo development program. Begun in 1862, the project was beyond "top secret," for the weapon it sought to create would overnight make the U.S. Navy supreme upon the oceans. This was critical, as global war against an alliance of the Confederacy, England and France was anticipated. The inventor, Major Edward B. Hunt of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, succeeded, but his mania for secrecy left no details of his activities--all plans, records and diagrams were destroyed at the conclusion of each stage of development. The device he created was considered so dangerous that, decades later, writers hesitated to describe it in depth for fear a foreign government might build the weapon. In the absence of hard facts, historians have long considered Sea Miner to have been a failure; nothing could be further from the truth.

This is a story from the Civil War that doesn't seem to belong to that period at all; it is wholly unexpected. The advances made by Hunt would not be seen again for eighty years, and not replicated by the U.S. Navy until the mid-1950s.

In Sea Miner: Major E. B. Hunt's Civil War Rocket Torpedo, Chuck Veit re-examines the development of the torpedo and, through his extensive research, brings to light names, facts, and calculations that suggest that serious work was being accomplished in the United States prior to and during the Civil War. As the New Torpedo Station was not established until 1869, most people focus on that as the beginning of the Navy's efforts, culminating with the Fish torpedo in 1871 as the first prototype torpedo. Chuck weaves a fascinating, well-documented story and gives the Navy a new chapter in its history of the torpedo." (John Kennedy, Director of Education, Naval War College Museum)


A collection of nine "almost lost” small-unit  episodes that illustrate the multi-dimensional war the U.S. Navy waged during the Slaveholders' Rebellion, 1861-1865. Eight of these stories were discovered by the author and are presented here for the first time in 150 years. A tenth, concluding chapter makes the argument that it was the Union Navy that won the war!

“If you are a Civil War enthusiast and think you've read everything about the war, you should read this book. If you are a Navy enthusiast and think you have a good grasp on naval history, you should read this book. In both cases, I bet you'll have your eyes opened to something new.” (Virtual Mariner, U.S. Militaria Forum)

“Chuck Veit has produced a rare gem in this collection of Civil War short histories. A must have for all students of the American Civil War.” (Dr. C. P. Neimeyer, Director, USMC History)

“This book will make a tremendous contribution to naval literature and the understanding of the Navy during the Civil War. The research for the manuscript is first-rate.” (Dr. R. Browning, Historian, US Coast Guard)


On a late summer’s night in 1843, U.S.S. Missouri lay anchored in Gibraltar Bay. She and her sister ship, Mississippi, were the most advanced steam frigates on the planet—and the first two such warships in the U. S. Navy. Missouri’s mission was to show herself off to the European powers, and there was no better place to begin than the British bastion at the gateway to the Mediterranean. But a simple accident led to the destruction of the ship before the sun rose again. Burnt to the waterline, Missouri settled to the bottom. For eight and a half years, she defied all attempts to raise or remove her, and began to form a massive sand bar that threatened to ruin the most strategic harbor in the world. Professional divers pronounced the project impossible—until an unknown, self-taught Yankee from Massachusetts took up the contract to raise Missouri...

“History recovered! In 1843, Missouri burned and sank, blocking the harbor at Gibraltar. That was not the end of her story, as Chuck Veit dramatically reveals. This is a tale of Yankee bravado—about an American who stepped up to do what British engineers could not. A roaring good tale!” (Dr. Timothy J. Runyan, East Carolina University)

Raising Missouri tells the story of the underwater technical challenges involved in the early years of modern diving & salvage efforts, and how they were overcome by dogged determination and Yankee ingenuity. An intriguing read!” (RAdm. Jay A. DeLoach, U.S. Navy (retired); former Director of the Naval History & Heritage Command)


2017 IPNE Winner in the Perennial Seller category and Book of the Year

At the beginning of the epic siege of Sebastopol in 1854, Russian defenders blocked the entrance to the harbor by sinking several lines of older sailing ships at the mouth of the bay. One year later, as the Czar’s forces abandoned the town, the remainder of the Black Sea Fleet, along with a number of transports and merchant vessels, were also scuttled. All told, nearly a hundred ships carpeted the bottom of the bay when British, French and Turkish forces occupied the port. English engineers pronounced the job of raising the hulks an impossibility, and were content to let them rot–a slow process that would ensure the strategic port remained unusable for years to come. But the Russians had a plan, one that involved a young American who, only a few years before, had managed another salvage project deemed “impossible by human means” by “professional” European divers.

This is the never-before-told story of the five-year salvage of the Imperial Fleet from the Harbor of Sebastopol by John E. Gowen, a self-taught salvor from Lynn, Massachusetts, whose unique approach to technology, to dealing with the repeated “burstings and breakings” of the project, present an alternative to our own modern perceptions of progress and innovation.

“Chuck Veit has single-handedly rescued Gowen from oblivion and given this impressive and attractive character his place in history. As a self-taught natural engineer, Gowen’s story is inherently interesting, like that of the Wright brothers, John Holland, or Barnes Wallis. Mr. Veit . . . writes fine history based on meticulous, imaginative research. This book will provide a rewarding read for anyone fascinated with the long story of man and the sea – but it is definitely required reading for those interested in the history of the art of the salvor or nineteenth century technology." (R. P. Largess, for the Naval Historical Foundation)


A four-volume 1672-page compendium of American Civil War newspaper articles providing an incredible snapshot of American society between 8 April 1861 and 16 April 1865. While the war itself is obviously the focus, the selection of articles presents as wide an image of period society as possible. Many recognized significant events are included; much else is mundane, and some is simply downright quirky. Do these stories capture everything that Americans thought or knew about? Certainly not. But you will find a wide variety of ideas and surprises around themes both familiar and unsuspected. There is no after-the-fact analysis here; this is the raw data of history as reported by participants. A downloadable Word document of the Index will give you an idea of the range of articles. (Roughly 1,000 words/day.)  (Note: While I certainly don't mind selling you the four-volume set, the sheer volume of paper makes this rather expensive. My goal is to see the information used, so I've also posted a Free online version which you can read day-by-day. Bad business, but good history . . .)


The popular 4th edition Handbook from the U.S. Naval Landing Party, an American Civil War living history crew—full of historical and practical information for portraying sailors and marines of the War of the Rebellion. (Co-author R. Kuchera)

"If ever there was a guide that filled a need to perfection this is it. As a reenactor, I appreciate the work that went into this book. It has everything you need on every aspect of the subject and then some. Written by reenactors for reenactors it is THE go to book.” (D. Williamson)

"If you're looking for information regarding how to do a civil war naval personna, this is the handbook for you. It is full of information about uniforms both CSN and USN, uniform and equipment vendors, drilling with other units as well as cutlass drills and much more. Period naval information at your finger tips! A must have for the CW naval reenactor. I rate it a 10+” (Anonymous Amazon Customer)


Email the author