Determined to see what sort of fire-arms were opposed to him, he ordered his men to concentrate their fire on a single skirmisher.
They did so and laid him low, and afterwards secured his repeating rifle — I think a Spencer
's seven or eight shooter — which they carried along, as a great curiosity, for some time afterward.
In the navy Invention made equally rapid strides.
When the war broke cut, the available vessels were mainly a few ships-of-the-line, frigates and screw steamers; but these could be of little service in such a warfare as was evidently on hand, a warfare which must be carried on in rivers, and
bays, and coastwise generally, where such clumsy and deepdraught vessels could not be used.
So sloops-of-war, gunboats, mortar-boats, double-enders, and iron-clads came to the front, and the larger old-fashioned craft were used mainly as receiving ships.
But with the increase in range and calibre of naval armament came a seeking by Invention for something less vulnerable to their power, and after the encounter of the little “Yankee cheese box,” so called, and the Rebel Ram “Virginia
,” the question of what should constitute the main reliance of the navy was definitely settled, and monitors became the idols of the hour.
These facts are all matters of well written history, and I refer to them now only to illustrate the truth of the maxim with which I began the chapter.