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“ [169]


This fine figure of a monitor lying in the James in 1864 shows clearly the two great principles Ericsson embodied in his plan. Skeptics said that the “Monitor” would never be able to keep an even keel with the waves washing over her low freeboard. Ericsson, who had seen the huge lumber-rafts in his native Sweden riding steadily though almost submerged, knew better. Again it was objected that the discharge of the guns would kill every man in the turret. But as an officer in the Swedish army, Ericsson had learned, by firing heavy guns from little huts, that if the muzzles protruded the concussion within was inconsiderable. Upon these two ideas he built his model that proved so momentous to the American navy. When C. S. Bushnell took the model to Washington, he was referred to Commander C. H. Davis by the other two members of the Naval Board. Davis, upon examining the model closely, told Bushnell that he could “take the little thing home and worship it, as it would not be idolatry, because it was in the image of nothing ‘in the heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters under the earth.’ ” It was not long, however, before the completed monitor became the idol of the Federal navy.

One of the “fighting rafts”--1864

One of the “fighting rafts”--1864


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