previous next

[472] the government of the Confederate States. This failure was due in a great measure, to a defect in her construction, which was fully appreciated by the Admiral, but which could not be remedied after the vessel had been taken down to her anchorage near Fort Morgan, as it consisted of the exposure of her steering aparatus on the upper side of the after deck, or fan-tail, speaking technically, whereas it ought to have passed under the deck, and would thus have been thoroughly protected. That the efficiency of the vessel was seriously impaired by this defect was abundantly proved by the fact that she was compelled, by the total destruction of her steering gear, to remain as a target for the guns of the fleet without the ability to bring one of her guns to bear on the enemy for more than twenty minutes before her surrender. The result of the engagement would certainly have been changed in some degree, if the vessel could have been kept under the control of her rudder, as upon that alone depended the direction of her battery, but her ultimate destruction or capture by the tremendous power to which she had offered battle, was a foregone conclusion.

But, as it is my purpose only to correct the mistakes in Lieutenant Kinney's article, I will refrain from any further allusion to the causes of the Tennessee's failure to inflict greater damage upon her captors, and confine myself to the original object of this communication. I may be permitted to add, however, that the little squadron of four vessels, manned by about four hundred and seventy officers and men, managed in the brief period of their engagement to place quite their own number hors du combat on board the eighteen vessels of the enemy. This is shown by official reports.

Lieutenant Kinney errs in stating that the guns of the Tennessee were of “English make,” as they were cast in a government foundry at Selma, Ala., under the immediate superintendence of Commander Catesby ap. Rogers Jones. He also states that the “rebels” claimed that a shot from one of their heavy guns penetrated the armor of the Tecumseh and caused her to sink. It has never been questioned by those most conversant with the facts, that she was sunk by a torpedo, but there has always been some doubt as to whether that torpedo was one of those planted by the “rebels,” or was attached to a spar rigged out from the bow of the Tecumseh, and whose explosion was caused by her coming in contact with a large iron buoy, anchored near Fort Morgan to indicate the channel to blockade-runners. It is a well-known fact that the commander of that ill-fated vessel had asked it as a special favor of Admiral Farragut, before entering the bay, to let him take care of the Tennessee, and I can testify to the fact that he had

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Fort Morgan (Alabama, United States) (2)
United States (United States) (1)
Selma (Alabama, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Kinney (2)
Rogers Jones (1)
Farragut (1)
Catesby (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: