So promptly had the ironclad boats been put under contract that the arrangements had all been made in anticipation of the appropriation, and the contract was signed on the very day the law was passed.
On December 25, 1861, Lieutenant Isaac N. Brown, Confederate States Navy, a gallant and competent officer, well and favorably known in his subsequent service as commander of the ram Arkansas, was sent to Nashville.
Information had been received that four river boats were there, and for sale, which were suited for river defense.
Lieutenant Brown was instructed to purchase such as should be adaptable to the required service, and to proceed forthwith with the necessary alteration and armament.
In the latter part of 1861, it having been found impossible with the means in Richmond and Norfolk to answer the requisitions for ordnance and ordnance stores required for the naval defenses of the Mississippi, a laboratory was established in New Orleans, and authority given for the