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[217] deeds of the 8th of March, 1862, is the common heritage of what is now our common country.

On the 9th was the fight between the Virginia and the Monitor, a drawn battle, but in its results one of the most decisive naval contests in history. That battle, coupled with the battle of the day before, which showed that no unarmored could stand before an armored vessel, decided the construction of future navies.

Instantly workshops all over the world resounded with the work of building new navies with deflective armor, high power guns, improved projectiles and improved machinery. But when we trace effect to cause, it was not the battle between the Virginia and the Monitor that begat modern navies; that was but a link in the chain of causation; it was the Virginia that begat the Monitor.

The Navy Department at Washington only listened to and adopted the plans of Ericsson for the Monitor when repeated reports from Norfolk showed that the Virginia, with her deflective armor, was under way, and that in all probability nothing could meet her but another ship with deflective armor. One experiment begat another; one success was met with another. So it is, my countrymen, that in the genius of Confederate naval officers is found the germ of the naval armaments that now attract the wonder of the world.

The Virginia was not the only marvel wrought by Confederate constructors. There were the Louisiana, the Mississippi, the Arkansas, the Albemarle and others. The Albemarle was built in a cornfield in North Carolina, out of timber, some of which was standing when she was started, and of iron that was hunted up here, there and everywhere. The Albemarle went down the sound, encountered a fleet of six vessels off Plymouth, sank one of them, the Southfield, drove the others away and aided the Confederates on land to recapture Plymouth. At another time the Albemarle fought a drawn battle against nine gunboats of the enemy. Eventually it was her fate to be destroyed in the night time by the almost superhuman daring of Lieutenant Cushing of the United States Navy. The Arkansas, with all her guns ablaze at the same time, three on each side, two forward and two aft, perhaps the only vessel that ever made a successful fire in four directions at once, ran through the whole fleet of Farragut and Davis and reached Vicksburg in safety. The Tennessee was built on the banks of the Alabama river at Selma, and who is there that does not know of her brave fight against Farragut's whole fleet after it had passed the fortifications at the mouth of Mobile Bay?

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