that he was fully conscious of the doubtful issue of the battle with Buchanan
Ah! had that luckless rudder chain not have jammed, Buchanan
, not Farragut
, might have been the great naval hero of the war.
The extreme difficulties we had to encounter in building such a ship as the Tennessee
are well narrated by Commodore Parker
, and leave little cause for wonder or complaint that so many imperfections existed in her construction.
The engines were taken from a Mississippi steamer on the Yazoo river
, and hauled several hundreds of miles across the country to the Tombigbee river
, where the ship was being built of timbers fresh cut from the neighboring forests, to be covered at Mobile
with iron drawn for the purpose out of the mines of Alabama
Every timber, every spike and rivet, in fact every component part of the ship was made in the Confederacy
, and her formidable battery of Brooke guns, with their fixed ammunition, powder, fuses and projectiles, were invented and manufactured by Confederates.
When at last the ship was ironed, her draught was found to be too great by seven feet!
She drew fifteen feet, and there was scarce eight feet of water on the bars over which she must pass to reach her fighting ground in lower Mobile bay
There were fortunately two great caissons just constructed at Mobile
by order of the General
commanding the forces there, which Admiral Buchanan
borrowed in this emergency to float the Tennessee
over the bars.
These caissons were sixty feet by sixty by twelve.
The Admiral cut
them in two, lashed with chains two of them under either side of the Tennessee
, and found that after having pumped them out the ship was lifted till she drew but little over seven feet!
She was then towed up the Mobile river
and down the Spanish
river, through the obstructions and down into deep water in the lower bay — a distance of thirty miles in all — where her battery was put aboard, and she was turned loose in full view of Farragut
But after all was done for her that could be done, and she was offering battle to the enemy, her engines could drive her but little over five knots an hour!
Moreover, it had been discovered by her captain, when too late to be effectually remedied, that her steering gear was exposed.
Her rudder chains ran in an uncovered groove upon her after-deck, instead of being secured under the iron plating of the deck itself.
An effort was made to remedy this defect by covering the groove in