tested in action.
Strong in faith, receiving but a negative support from the Navy Department, they completed the “Monitor” at their own cost.”
These misstatements, repeated and exaggerated by others, in newspaper paragraphs and sensational lectures, to miscellaneous crowds, as well by extreme partisans in Congress and out, found listeners and readers.
They served to create false impressions and to make false history.
Truth and justice to others demand correction.
The project of attempting in this country the construction of iron-clad vessels and heavy ordnance originated in the Navy Department in 1861, and the “Monitor” plan, invented by Ericsson
, was adopted by naval officers, with the approval of the Navy Department, within three months after the first recommendation of the Department was made.
This was before the iron-master and capitalists who contracted for the battery were known to the Department that awarded the contract.
Instead of advancing the money and paying the entire expense out of his own funds, as stated by General Butler
, payments were promptly made by the Navy Department to Mr. Griswold
and his associates, as rapidly, at least, as the work progressed, and was certified to by the supervising agent of the Department; there being an interval of only fifteen or twenty days between each payment, as will be seen by the following from the official record:
|1861.-November 15, first payment, $50,000, less 25 per cent||$37,500|
|December 3, second payment, $50,000, less 25 per cent||37,500|
|December 17, third payment, $50,000, less 25 per cent||37,500|
|1862.-January 3, fourth payment, $50,000, less 25 per cent||37,500|
|February 6, fifth payment, $50,000, less 25 cent||37,500|
|March 3, sixth payment, $25,000, less 25 per cent||18,750|
|March 14, last payment, reservations||68,750|
Save reservations, which were made in all cases of vessels built by contract, the last payment, on the completion of the battery, was on the 3d of March, and, as time was precious and pressing, she was hastily commissioned, officered, manned, supplied, and left New York for Hampton Roads
three days after, on the 6th of March.
Intense anxiety was naturally felt by the officials in the Navy Department, who knew and appreciated the importance of the occasion, and the responsibility depending on them for the success of this vessel in her voyage, and in her power and fighting qualities after she should reach her destination.
Many naval officers hesitated to give the experiment their indorsement.
Some of the best engineers and