was ascertained, by consultation with Federal ordnance officers, that the cost of completing the armament of the Massachusetts coast
would amount to 150,000.
This delayed matters.
In the mean time, the conflict between the ‘Merrimack’ and the ‘Monitor,’ in Hampton Roads
, cast a serious doubt upon the stability of any projects of fortification or armament of our harbor; and the Governor
was requested by the War Department to expend the money appropriated upon the immediate construction of iron-clad vessels.
He appointed a committee—two members of the Executive Council, the President
of the Boston
Board of Trade, and an eminent civil engineer—to consider the subject.
The Legislature had passed a resolve Feb. 14, 1862, and appropriated a sum of money to build one or more iron-clad steamers for the protection of the coast.
Parties stood ready to build such a vessel, when a protest was received from the Naval Department against it, alleging that that department was willing to put ‘under construction, in every part of the country, all that the utmost resources of the people could accomplish,’ and it was ‘sorry to find a State entering the market in competition with Government, the result of which could only injure both parties.’
To this the Governor
answered that there were at least two establishments in Massachusetts
capable of building such vessels, whose services had not been required by the Government
The reply of the Navy Department was an offer, to each of these establishments, of a contract for building an ironclad steamer.
A like difficulty prevented the State
from procuring the manufacture of heavy ordnance.
The War Department had engaged, to the full extent of their capacity, all the founderies which were known to be prepared to cast suitable and heavy cannon for arming the fortifications on the coast; and no aid from the State
, therefore, had been necessary to expedite the work.
The result was, that nothing was done by the State
at this time, either to build iron-clads or manufacture heavy guns; and the coast remained for some time longer without any adequate means of defence.
Towards the close of the address, the Governor
spoke in fitting language of our heroic dead, and of the soldiers in the war:—