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[144] was written, and before the Merrimac had been raised. Secretary Mallory had had good training for his position. For several years he had been chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs of the United States Senate, and had been foremost in his interest in the navy and in the changes that were taking place in naval methods. Although many people of inventive mind and constructive imagination had worked along the lines that were now to be seriously adopted, Secretary Mallory was the first one in a position of authority to take the initiative in a change which abruptly ended the past eras of naval ship building, and inaugurated that of the new.

It was in June, 1861, that a board was appointed to make a survey of the Merrimac, draw plans, and estimate the cost of the conversion of that vessel into an iron-clad battery. The board consisted of Lieutenant John M. Brooke, inventor of the Brooke rifled gun, Chief Engineer William P. Williamson, and Lieutenant John L. Porter, chief constructor of the Confederate navy. All of these gentlemen were officers who had seen long service in the navy of the United States. In a letter from Mallory, addressed to Flag-Officer Forrest, Porter and Williamson are mentioned as being the constructor and engineer of the Merrimac. John M. Brooke, however, had much to do with her completion. He supervised the placing of the battery inside the armored citadel, which consisted of one 7-inch pivoted Brooke rifle at each end, and eight guns, four in a broadside, six of which were 9-inch Dahlgrens, and two 32-pounder Brooke rifles. In appearance, the Merrimac, when completed, resembled very much the Eads ironclads which had appeared on the Mississippi River. An odd coincidence was that the Monitor was commissioned as a ship of war on the 25th of February, 1862, and only the day before the Merrimac, henceforth known in Confederate annals as the Virginia, had received her first commander, Flag-Officer Franklin Buchanan. In the orders issued to him by Secretary Mallory, occur some prophetic paragraphs:

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