previous next

[49] of haste and incompetency, which so frequently characterized our Confederate navy. What she was designed for no man probably knows. I imagine that she was intended for a powerful iron-clad gun boat, with an iron beak for poking, and several heavy guns for shooting. But, before she had arrived at anything like a state of completion, the plan was altered, and she was made into an hermaphrodite-iron-clad. That is to say (I am speaking for the benefit of those learned in naval matters), instead of finishing the ship with an ordinary rail and bulwark all round, her sides were ‘built on’ amidships for fifty or sixty feet in length, so as to give an apology for protection to three guns in each broadside. The sides, it must be understood, were perpendicular. The ends of this ‘castle,’ or ‘gunbox,’ as Captain Brown dubbed it, were sloping or inclined, from which were thrust four more guns, two at each end. This gave us a battery of ten guns, which, by the way, were of all sizes and descriptions —to-wit: two eight-inch Columbiads; one eight-inch shell gun; two nine-inch shell guns; one smooth bore, 32 pounder, (63 cwt.,) and four rifle-guns, formerly 32-pounders, but now altered, three banded and one unbanded. Four of the carriages were mounted on railroad iron chassis; the six broadside guns were on carriages constructed at Canton, Miss., by parties who never saw or heard of such things before. The timber had not left the stump ten days when we received the carriages on board. But we are getting ahead too fast. The ship was built at Fort Pickering, a short distance below Memphis, by Captain John T. Shirley, as contractor, and Prime Emmerson, constructor. Her engines were built (or botched, rather,) at a foundry on Adams street, and the timber of which she was composed grew in our vicinity. The Confederate Congress, in the plenitude of their wisdom, appropriated $125,000 to build two rams to defend the upper Mississippi. The Arkansas was the first constructed under the act, and was towed up the Yazoo after the fall of New Orleans. I will not take the reader through all the disappointments and crosses during the six or eight weeks preceding the fifteenth of July we started out with. It is sufficient that we had the craft, incomplete and rough as she was, with railroad bars on her hull and sides and ends of the ‘gun-box.’ We have a crew and an officer for every gun, and on the aforesaid morning we are steaming down the Yazoo river, bound to Mobile. Our orders were to pass Vicksburg shortly after dawn; proceed from thence down the river, destroying any stray vessels of the enemy in the road; coal-ship at New Orleans; pass Forts Jackson and St. Philip at night, and proceed to Mobile Bay

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John T. Shirley (1)
Emmerson (1)
John C. Brown (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 15th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: