A remarkable fact in naval warfare.
[From the New York Times.]
The report of the capture of the rebel iron-clad ram Tennessee
in Mobile bay
must form one of the most remarkable chapters in naval warfare.
It is no ordinary sort of sea monitor that could bear the concentrated attack of thirteen vessels of war, six of them iron-clad, with an armament of two hundred guns, and yet come out of the engagement with a few splinters detached from her inner casting to mark the damage in her interior.
lay in the rear of our fleet after the forts had been passed on the morning of the 5th of August; and of fourteen vessels, at Admiral Farragut
's disposal for the attack, all were perfectly sound and uninjured except the Tecumseh
, which had been sunk by a torpedo, when the order was given shortly after 8 o'clock to bout ship and give battle to the ram. A signal was given to all the fleet not only to commence the attack with guns, but to run her down at full speed.
, a steam frigate, not iron-clad, was the first to strike the Tennessee
; but the shock, tremendous as it must have been to an ordinary craft, had no apparent effect upon the ram.
's flagship, the Hartford
, next dashed against her bow at full speed, immediately following up the terrific stroke with a whole port broadside of 9-inch shot and thirteen pounds of powder at a distance of twelve feet; but still the oaken and iron thews and sinews of the monster showed no perceptible loosening or feebleness.
The monitors and the remainder of the fleet then closed in upon her, and she surrendered simply when she no longer had seaway to move in. The pounding lasted for a full hour and a half; at the end of that time she was given up by her commander, Buchanan
, in a condition which enabled the engineers of our fleet to report on the 19th of August--eight days after the fight had taken place — that she was in a state to do good service.
The bare facts of the engagement have to be re-called along with those relating to the size, form and structure and armament of the Tennessee
, as they serve to illustrate each other.
The length of the Tennessee
, from stem to stern, on deck, is two hundred feet; her depth is twenty-eight feet, and her draught of water about fourteen feet. The deck covering is of two-inch iron plates.
The protection to the sides is an over-hang, which extends about six feet below the line, and is covered with double layers of two-inch wrought iron.
The distance between the outside or knuckles of the covering on deck and the base of the casements is ten feet. The inner sides of the vessel, as far as known by the approximate measurement, are eight feet thick.
The prow is less formidable in dimensions than might have been supposed, extending only two feet under water.
The casement of the Tennessee
, which is seventy-eight feet eight inches in length, and twenty-eight feet nine inches in width, leaves an open space, on either side, of ten feet, (at the greatest breadth of the beam,) and the framing of the cases consists of heavy yellow pine
basins, thirteen inches their laid together vertically; an inner planking of pine, laid horizontally, six and a half inches thick; and outside of the latter a layer of oak timber, four inches thick, bolted on vertically, and covered with iron-plating--six inches thick forward and five inches thick aft, and on both sides.
The armor plating is fastened on with bolts one and one-sixth inches in diameter, with washers and nuts fastening them inside.
had an armament of six (what we call) Brooke
The two pivot guns (fore and aft) are seven and a half inches bore, and four broadsides are six inches in bore.
The weight of the projectiles are found to be ninety-five and one hundred pounds solid shot.
The steering arrangement, and the provision for the protection of the pilot and helmsman, our engineers have found to be exceedingly defective.--The machinery consists of two non-condensing engines with cylinders twenty-four inches in diameter and seven feet stroke.
These had been taken out of some old river steamboats; the machinery department evidently being held altogether of account in the general plan of the builders.
As most heavily-clad rams, the ventilation was found to be exceedingly bad. The main defect, however, thus far discovered, is in the port shutters, several of which were seriously damaged by the shot from our heavy guns.
Nine 11-inch shots were found to have struck within a space of a few square feet; not one of which, however, penetrated the casemate.
Much of her plating was started in many places, and on the port side, nearly amidships of the casemate, a 15-inch solid shot knocked a hole through her armor and backing, a portion of the latter falling off in splinters.
The ramming of our vessels left no visible mark on the outside of the Tennessee
; but as she makes two inches more water an hour than she did prior to the fight, it is presumed that some of her invisible joints must have been partially deranged with her repeated concussions with the assaulting fleet.
has lately been used by Admiral Farragut
, to good purpose, in the assault on Fort Morgan
that preceded its surrender; and we expect that she will yet do us much good service, and take rank among the most powerful iron-clads in the navy of the Union