Instead of this gun the Patapsco
had 150 pounder Parrott rifles.
It is apparent to the reader that it would require only a foot or so of water in the hold to sink this vessel, and this danger was augmented by the insufficient water-way, which was the trough within the keel, having a chord of 16 inches, and a depth of 3 3/4 inches, in the form of a lunette.
When the vessel was nearly on an even keel this was a very insufficient conduit from the fore body of the vessel to the powerful centrifugal pumps placed in the after body, as we shall presently see in the sinking of the Weehawken
In a heavy sea the monitors were surprisingly easy in their movements.
This was obtained at the cost of great strain on the fastenings of the ‘overhang.’
When the engines were stopped the vessel, quite unlike ordinary ones, would sheer one way or the other, and no amount of watching could prevent this.
As we have already seen, the gun machinery had not that reliability that it was supposed to possess.
When under a fair steam-pressure they steered very well.
In May, 1863, in answer to the requirement of the Navy Department, all of the officers commanding monitors near Charleston
(five in number) submitted their opinion in relation to the qualities of that class, which the Department did not think worth while to give to the public in its ‘Report on Armored Vessels,’ 1864, made under a Congressional resolution.
It might be supposed that this letter had been inadvertently passed over, had it not been that on page 603 Captain Ericsson
comments upon one of its paragraphs.
subsequently saw the letter, and concurred in its contents.
It has never been published, and for lack of space is not now given.
The closing paragraphs are as follows:
In relation to the qualities of the vessels, we would remark that they have been exaggerated