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Admiral David D. Porter, The Naval History of the Civil War., Chapter 13: building a navy on the Western rivers.--battle of Belmont. (search)
ved batteries on the banks could prevent their passage. The Secretary might have observed that the enemy's batteries on the Potomac did not stop even ordinary transports. At first the naval forces on the Western rivers were put under the direction of the War Department, as it was supposed the armed vessels would be a mere appendage of the land forces; and there does not seem to have been a man in the Cabinet at that time who knew the difference between a gun-boat and a transport. In July, 1861, Quartermaster General Meigs contracted with Mr. Eads to build a number of iron-clad gun-boats for the Western waters, and from the fact that Gen. Meigs contracted for them it is presumed the War Department paid for them, and that the Navy Department had not then risen to the height of the occasion. Seven of these gun-boats were each to be about 600 tons, to draw six feet of water, to be plated with two and a half inch iron, and steam nine knots. They were to be each 175 feet long and 51