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[116] when a heavy gale set in from seaward. Without this arrangement it would have been absolutely impossible to exist on board of them, as the water was usually swashing over the decks. Admiral Dahlgren did not exaggerate when he said ‘no one can form an idea of the atmosphere of these vessels’ after being closed up and in action for a few hours in a hot climate.

The New Ironsides fairly fulfilled reasonable expectations; she had all the speed necessary for the purposes of her construction; was not an indifferent sea boat; presented in broadside seven Xi-inch shell guns and one 200-pounder rifle. Her battery had rapidity of fire and great precision and usefulness within its range. When in shallow water, like all flat-floored vessels, she steered badly and became unmanageable, if obliged to slow down or to stop the enginery. The armor plating was four and a half inches in thickness, and stood fairly the fire from all the batteries to which she was exposed at all times. Before going into action her deck was covered with sand-bags, and the iron bulkheads of four inches in thickness at her ends were reinforced with sand-bags.

The Keokuk proved to be a hopeless failure under the fire to which she was subjected, and would not have withstood projectiles of ordinary size at any distance at which her battery could have been used effectively. The contract calls for ‘one iron-clad, shot-proof, steam battery on Whitney's plan, the vessel to be wholly of iron. Length, 159 feet; beam, 39 feet; depth of hold, 3 1/2 feet, and draught; 8 feet. The said vessel shall have capacity and stability safely to carry and work a battery of two Xi-inch guns, . . the vessel and the two turrets and the pilot-house to be shot-proof against ordnance used in the naval service of the United States.’ The ‘turrets,’ as they were called, were

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