capable of forging the huge ingots required for the large guns, and even he having only lately begun to turn them out, and in very limited quantities.
The so-called Blakely guns, of which the rebels had large quantities, were a very inferior, cheap article, of smaller calibres, which, in their extreme need, they were glad to have, poor as they were.
had, as yet, built no gun on his principle, of larger calibre than five and a half inches, and the success of them had not been promising; and he would not undertake to deliver any more guns within six months.
, on his own responsibility, contracted with Captain Blakely
for two 11-inch guns.
On the 28th of May, 1863, the Executive Council authorized the Governor
to contract for the manufacture of ordnance in Europe
to the extent of $250,000; and, on the 2d of June, orders were sent to Mr. Forbes
, to enter into contract for guns and projectiles in England
to that amount.
accordingly contracted for ten 11-inch and twelve 9-inch rifled Blakelys, to be delivered on or before the 15th of September, and to cost $32,050. It was also provided, that, in case the contractors should be unable to deliver the whole number of 11-inch guns, they might deliver eight of that calibre, and three 9-inch guns in place of the other ten 11-inch guns.
As it was thought that, if those parts of the guns which could not be produced at home were sent out from England
, the manufacture of Blakely guns might be established in Massachusetts
, parts of two 11-inch guns and two 9-inch guns were also contracted for; and, late in September, the Putnam Machine Shops
, at Fitchburg
, were induced to undertake the finishing of these guns, the State
having paid for the special machinery required for this purpose; and the guns were eventually finished by them.
It had, meanwhile, become apparent that the difficulties attendant upon the manufacture of these large Blakely guns were so great, even in England
, that the contract would not be executed.
The danger of foreign war, moreover, had never appeared so imminent.
The celebrated iron-clads, built by Mr. Laird
, for the rebels, were lying in the Mersey
, nearly ready for sea. It was thought that the British Government