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[190] between his shipyard and that where the Mississippi was constructed. Of this latter vessel he said:
I think the vessel was built in less time than any vessel of her tonnage, character, and requiring the same amount of work and materials, on this continent. That vessel required no less than two million feet of lumber, and, I suppose, about one thousand tons of iron, including the false works, blockways, etc. I do not think that amount of materials was ever put together on this continent within the time occupied in her construction. I know many of our naval vessels, requiring much less materials than were employed in the Mississippi, that took about six or twelve months in their construction. She was built with rapidity, and had at all times as many men at work upon her as could work to advantage— she had, in fact, many times more men at work upon her than could conveniently work. They worked on nights and Sundays upon her, as I did upon the Louisiana, at least for a large portion of the time.

The Secretary of the Navy knew both of the Tifts, but had no near personal relations or family connections with either, as was recklessly alleged.

He, in accepting their proposition, connected with it the detail of officers of the navy to supervise expenditures and aid in procuring materials. Assisted by the chief engineer and constructor of the navy, minute instructions were given as to the manner in which the work was to be conducted. As early as September 19th he sent twenty ship carpenters from Richmond to New Orleans to aid in the construction of the Mississippi. On October 7th authority was given to have guns of heaviest caliber made in New Orleans for the ship. Frequent telegrams were sent in November, December, and January, showing great earnestness about the work on the ship. In February and March notice was given of the forwarding from Richmond of capstan and mainshaft, which could not be made in New Orleans. On March 22d the Secretary, by telegraph, directed the constructors to ‘strain every nerve to finish the ship,’ and added, ‘work day and night.’ April 5th he again wrote: ‘Spare neither men nor money to complete her at the earliest moment. Can not you hire night-gangs for triple wages?’ April 10th the Secretary again says: ‘Enemy's boats have passed Island 10. Work day and night with all the force you can command to get the Mississippi ready. Spare neither men nor money.’ April 11th he asks, ‘When will you launch, and when will she be ready for action?’ These inquiries indicate the prevalent opinion, at that time, that the danger to New Orleans was from the ironclad fleet above, and not the vessels at the mouth of the river; the anxiety of the Secretary of the Navy and the efforts made by him were, however, of a character applicable to either or both the sources of danger. Thus we find as early as February 24, 1862, that he

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