The damages and violence are not only directed towards the military, but civilians were heavily affected by the war.

It is easy to assume that the war came into the New Jersey coast in the form of a battle between the navy ships. However, the data illustrated the opposite. Out of all the shipwrecks that happened because of wartime violence in each year, a significant portion are actually civilian ships. Many of them were torpedoed or depth charged by the military. For example, the first torpedo attack by a German U-boat at the coast of New Jersey brought down the R.P. Resor, a commercial tanker that happened to be in the New Jersey water at the time. In this incident alone, 38 civilian lives were lost.

Within what seemed a fraction of a second the Resor was aflame from her bridge aft and debris was hurled high into the air… I was thrown to the deck and lay there momentarily in a dazed condition. In the light of the flames, the submarine was now clearly visible, about four points on our port bow and 400 to 500 yards distant. The enemy vessel, without lights, appeared to be on her way to the Jersey shore.”

– John J. Forsdal, victim on the R.P. Resor.