In the fall of 1776, a revolutionary attempt was made to launch submarine warfare when the Turtle set out to attack a British flagship. The inventor of this phenomenal craft was David Bushnell, who had experimented for many years with gunpowder explosives and submarine mines. This biography tells of his efforts to activate his inventions during the American Revolution, and of the successes and failures involved. At the same time the events of the war itself parallel Bushnell's activities and the traditional figures -- Washington, Franklin, Nathan Hale, Benedict Arnold,- are drawn into the background. There is much technical detail in the descriptions of the effect on the on the action of underwater mines in the Battle of the Kegs, on Bushnell's repeated efforts to improve his invention.