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did not know what he wanted. Seeing the failure of Lieutenant Brooke's scheme, Constructor Porter then had another model made like the one he made at Pittsburg in 1847. [Italics mine.] Mr. Porter is mistaken as to the ship-carpenter. Mr. Joseph Pearce (Mr. Porter spells it Pierce) was a constructor competent to perform the ohn L. Porter then had a model made, took it to Richmond personally, and submitted it to Secretary Mallory. As to its being like the one he made at Pittsburg in 1847, I can but say that the only reference to that model I have seen is in Constructor Porter's note of his relations to the conversion of the Merrimac into an iron-cl And no other vessel was built that way by the Confederate States. Subsequent vessels were made after the model which Constructor Porter made at Pittsburg in 1847, with the ends above the water and protected like the roof. But the model made after the return of the ship-carpenter to the yard, like the one he made at Pitt
the horizontal deck plating of the ends. It was, therefore, not necessary to submerge the ends, provided the sides were properly protected by plating. But as the weight of guns and shields increased, the efficiency of the principle of submerged ends became apparent. The means at command in the Confederacy were not adequate to the complete development of the principle in sea-going ships. Plates of sufficient thickness to afford protection when placed vertically could not be made; but in 1874 it was applied in England. The following description of the Inflexible is from Chief-Engineer J. W. King's War Ships and Navies of the World. The Inflexible, which was commenced at Portsmouth dock-yard in February, 1874, and launched April, 1876, is a twin-screw, double-turret ship, with a central armored citadel. She was designed by Mr. Barnaby, the Director of Naval Construction at the Admiralty, and at a meeting of the Institution of Naval Architects in London, he describes the vess
which it is surmounted. Her immense bulk, unprecedented armament, powerful machinery and the provision for ramming and for resisting the impact of rams as well as of shot and shell, have made it necessary that strength and solidity should enter into every part of the structure. The Inflexible having been accepted as one of the types of the British future line — of battle ships, two others have been put in process of construction—the Ajax, which was laid down at the Pembroke dock-yard in 1876; and the Agamemnon, commenced at the Chatham in the same year, and launched in 1879. After so full an account of the Inflexible, any detailed description of these two sister ships would be a mere repetition. The Colossus and the Majestic * * *two steel sister ships, are of the same type as the vessels just described, and of dimensions between the Inflexible and the Ajax. In Constructor Porter's reply to Justice, he says: Of the great and skillful calculations of the displacemen
rter was brought before the public. It attracted attention, and the statement of Justice appeared. Mr. J. W. H. Porter's Correct Version of the Converting of the Merrimac into an Iron clad is, in the main, a repetition of what was published in 1862, with some variations and additions. Mr. J. W. H. Porter says: Lieutenant John M. Brooke, of the navy, was considering the question of an iron-clad. He was in a position where he could command the ear of Secretary Mallory, of the Confederate is made a part of these presents. In testimony whereof, I have caused these letters to be made patent, and the seal of the Patent Office has been hereunto affixed. Given under my hand at the city of Richmond, this 29th day of July, in the year of our Lord 1862. Seal of the Patent Office, (Our First President.) Confederate States of America. (Signed) T. H. Watts, Attorney-General. Countersigned and sealed with the seal of the Patent Office. Rufus H. Rhodes, Commissioner
illerist, requesting him to ascertain the date of publication. He replied as follows: ten-mile Mill, S. C., August 10, 1887. I find that all the files of the Charleston Mercury are in the Charleston library, and not one paper missing. There is a great deal said about the Virginia and her fights, and I find the letter you refer to was published in the Mercury dated March 19th, 1862, no date given to the writing of the same. You have an exact copy, as quoted to me in your letter of August 3d. * * Yours truly, Joseph A. Yates. The order of date of publication of the three extracts from Mr. Porter's letters is reversed in Scharf's history. My note-book, kept at that time, contains, under date of March 20th, 1862, this remark: Several papers have published articles from the Norfolk Day-Book, giving the credit of the plan of the Merrimac to John L. Porter. The extraordinary character of this extract fixed it in my memory as the first in which Mr. Porter was brought
build tanks on to regulate the draft of the vessel, she would have been cut much lower than my plan. Constructor Porter knew that the depth of submergence was two feet, and that to use the superstructures as tanks to regulate the draft was merely incidental; they were to be filled with water at fighting draft and emptied, if necessary, to diminish it. Extracts from these three letters of Mr. Porter will be found in J. Thomas Scharf's History of the Confederate States Navy, published in 1887, pp. 146-151. The last in order is the extract from a private letter, given above, which, Mr. Scharf says, was published in the Charleston Mercury of April 8th, 1862. Knowing that this extract, the first publication connecting Mr. Porter's name with the Merrimac, had appeared at an earlier date, I wrote to Colonel Joseph Yates, whom I had known as one of the gallant defenders of Charleston, and an accomplished artillerist, requesting him to ascertain the date of publication. He replie
n the Examiner of April 3d: The Virginia. Gosport Navy-yard, March 29, 1862. To the Editor of the Examiner: Having seen an article in the Richmond Enquirer, and one also in the Whig, claiming the plan of the iron-clad ship Virginia for Lieutenant John M. Brooke, of the navy, thereby doing myself and Engineer Williamson the greatest injustice, I feel called upon to make a statement of facts in the case, for the further information of the reading public, in the history of this ship. In June last Lieutenant Brooke made an attempt to get up a floating battery at the Navy Department. The Secretary sent to this yard for the master ship-carpenter to come up and assist him. After trying for a week he failed to produce anything, and the master-carpenter returned to his duties at the yard. Secretary Mallory then sent for me to come to Richmond, at which time I carried up the model of an iron-clad floating battery, with the shield of the present Virginia on it, and before I ever saw L
Thomas S. Bocock (search for this): chapter 1.1
. Approved by the Secretary but omitted, from your statement that the ship would not carry it. John M. Brooke, Lieutenant, C. S. Navy. The faulty arrangement of the wheel-ropes was brought to my notice by Lieutenant Jones. A similar arrangement was the immediate cause of the loss of the iron-clad Tennessee. On the 4th of April Secretary Mallory's report to the House of Representatives appeared in the Examiner. Confederate States Navy Department, Richmond, March 29, 1862. Hon. Thomas S. Bocock, Speaker of the House of Representatives: Sir: In compliance with the resolution adopted by the House of Representatives on the 18th instant, That the Secretary of the Navy be requested to make a report to this House of the plan and construction of the Virginia, so far as the same can be properly communicated, of the reasons for applying the plan to the Merrimac, and also what persons have rendered especial aid in designing and building the ship, I have the honor to reply that on
Catesby Ap. R. Jones (search for this): chapter 1.1
any more ballast in-fear of the bottom. The eaves of the roof will not be more than six inches immersed, which in smooth water would not be enough; a slight ripple would leave it bare except the one-inch iron that extends some feet below. We are least protected where we most need it, and may receive a shot that would sink us; a thirty-two-pounder would do it. The constructor should have put on six inches where we now have one. We have taken on board a large quantity of ballast. Catesby Ap. R. Jones. [extract.] Confederate States steamer Virginia, Norfolk, March 7, 1862. my dear Brooke: * * * The edges of our plates are only five inches below the water. * * * R. D. Minor. As the vessel lightened, this submergence diminished. Five inches is little more than awash, and it was evident after the action that the guns of the enemy, having no command, could not penetrate the horizontal deck plating of the ends. It was, therefore, not necessary to submerge the ends, provi
teen feet. He applied to Constructor Porter for information. In Flag-officer Tattnall's triumphant defence will be found this statement [see Scharf's Confederate States Navy, p. 235]: To the constructor, Mr. Porter, I applied through Paymaster Semple, for information on the subject, who swears positively that he obtained the constructor's written report that the ship could be lightened to even seventeen feet, and would have stability to that draft in the James river. Now, whether Mr. SeMr. Semple misunderstood Mr. Porter or not, there can be no doubt of the nature of the reply communicated to me through a reliable source, upon which, in the nature of things, having no knowledge of my own, I was obliged to rely. Nor will the positive and reliable testimony thus given be much shaken by Mr. Porter's flippant answer to the question why he he did not give full information, that I never spent a thought on the subject; I was busy; I supposed the officers all knew what they were about and
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