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John Ericsson, Ll.D.-the precursor of a new naval era The battle of Ericsson's “Monitor” with the “Merrimac” settled the question of wooden navies for the world. Born in Sweden in 1803, Ericsson was given a cadetship in the corps of engineers at the age of eleven. In 1839, with several notable inventions already to his credit, he came to America and laid before the Navy Department his new arrangement of the steam machinery in warships. It had been regarded with indifference in England, yet it was destined to revolutionize the navies of the world. In 1841 Ericsson was engaged in constructing the U. S. S. “Princeton.” She was the first steamship ever built with the propelling machinery below the water-line, and embodied a number of Ericsson's inventions — among them a new method of managing guns. At the time Ericsson laid his plans for the “Monitor” before the Navy Department, there existed a strong prejudice against him throughout the bureaus because his name had been unjustly associated with the bursting of the “Princeton's” 12-inch gun, February 28, 1844, by which the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Navy, Captain Kennon, and Colonel Gardiner were killed. The Naval Board nevertheless had the courage to recommend the “Monitor,” and this last great invention of Ericsson brought him immortal fame. Ie died in New York in 1889. His body was sent back to his native land on board the U. S. S. “Baltimore” as a mark of the navy's high esteem.

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