previous next

[93] and these officers gave them the direction of greatest efficiency. Perhaps it was well you had so few ships to give these men; perhaps they rendered a better service in these lines.

Nevertheless, like the bird that beats its wings against its cage, they fretted against this durance vile, and longed for

A wet sheet, and a flowing sea,
     A wind that follows fast,
And fills the white and rustling sail,
     And bends the gallant mast.

With Herculean labor you built some vessels for harbor defence; fitted out two or three for service at sea; mounted one, sometimes two, guns upon such river steamers and tug boats as you could lay hands upon, and called them gunboats.

A gunboat is a vessel of war, and a chief essential of a war vessel is that its engines and boilers should be below the water line, for protection against the damage of shot or shell. In your gunboats, boilers and engines were on deck, and at all times exposed to the ravage and complete destruction of a single shot.

In this fashion you equipped yourselves, and girded your loins to grapple with a naval power, armed with the accumulations and experence of sixty years, supplemented with additions from a wide field and vast resources.

Gregg, in his history of the war, says that on land you were outnumbered at times from two to ten for one; but in the navy from 100 to 1,000 to one. We make no computation of the ratio, but rest solely upon the abiding sense that you and we will always feel, of a great disproportion.

With green timber, after plans devised to meet the lack of skill in your labor, for you had no force of ship carpenters, you built ironclads at Norfolk, Richmond, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, New Orleans, and on the Mississippi.

Wherever they were completed and afloat, before the advance of the enemy made their construction abortive, they were handled with skill, and did good service. That they did no more, that they achieved no lasting success, was due to causes beyond your and our control.

With your remarkable development in many lines of industry, born of an urgent necessity, you were no nearer the building of adequate marine engines at the close, than in the beginning of the war. In this lay the weakness and inefficiency of all the vessels you built.

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Savannah (Georgia, United States) (1)
Norfolk (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
Percy Gregg (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: