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[156] command of rivers, all important to the Union forces as bases of operations, would have been next to impossible. ...

Think of the destruction this infernal machine effected, and bear in mind its use came to be fairly understood, and some system introduced into its arrangement, only during the last part of the war. During a period when scarcely any vessels were lost, and very few severely damaged by the most powerful guns then employed in actual war, we find this long list of disasters from the use of this new and, in the beginning, much despised comer into the arena of naval warfare. But it required just such a record as this to arouse naval officers to ask themselves the question, β€œIs not the days of great navies gone forever?” If such comparatively rude and improvised torpedoes made use of by the Confederates caused such damage and spread such terror among the Union fleet, what will be the consequence when skilful engineers, encouraged by governments, as they have never been before, diligently apply themselves to the perfecting of this terrible weapon? The successes of the Confederates have made the torpedo, which before was looked on with loathing β€” a name not to be spoken except contemptuously β€” a recognized factor in modern naval warfare. On all sides we see the greatest activity in improving it.

I shall now refer briefly to the use in Charleston harbor of riflecannon and iron-clad floating and land batteries. In the attack on Fort Sumter, in 1861, these war appliances were first used in the United States. When I arrived at Charleston, in March of that year, to assume command of the forces there assembling and direct the attack on Fort Sumter, I found under construction a rough floating battery made of palmetto logs, under the direction of Captain Hamilton, an ex-United States naval officer. He intended to plate it with several sheets of rolled iron, each about threequarters of an inch thick, and to arm it with four 32-pounder carronades. He and his battery were so much ridiculed, however, that he could with difficulty obtain any further assistance from the State government. He came to me in great discouragement, and expressed in vivid terms his certainty of success, and of revolutionizing future naval warfare as well as the construction of war vessels. I approved of Captain Hamilton's design, and having secured the necessary means, instructed him to finish his battery

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