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THE NAVY REPORT.
counter batteries and riflemen on river banks. The satisfaction of these requirements demanded not merely the invention of new models, but the introduction of new principles in naval construction, and radical changes in
The Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Welles, has thus stated the first duties of his department: "To make available every naval vessel; to recall our foreign squadrons; to increase our force by building new vessels, and by procur ing for naval purposes from the merchant service every steamer which could be made a fighting vessel; to enlarge at once the capacity of the navy yards; to put in requisition the founderies and work-shops of the country for supplies of ordnance and steam machinery; to augment the number of seamen; and to supply the deficiency of officers by selecting experienced and able shipmasters and others from the merchant marine."
Weakness of the
At the opening of the war, the force possessed by the Navy Department consisted of 42 vessels of navy at the opening various classes-steamers and sailing ships, carrying 555 guns and about 7600 men. They were dispersed on different stations-the Mediter ranean, the African coast, the coast of Brazil, the East Indies, the Pacific coast, etc. So effectually had the disper sion and neutralization of the national fleet The ships dispersed. been accomplished, that there was actually but one efficient war vessel on the Northern coast when the conflict began. The conspirators had therefore ample time to seize the forts, and establish themselves in the strong-holds of the coast unmolested.
In addition to this scattering of the ships, measures had The dock-yards pur- been taken to incapacitate the dock-yards. posely neglected. Instead of there being an accumulation of timber suitable for ship-building, the stock had been permitted to diminish until very little remained. The customary purchases had not been made.
THE NAVY REPORT.
Still more," demoralization prevailed among the naval The officers unfaith- Officers, many of whom, occupying the most responsible positions, betrayed symptoms of that infidelity which has dishonored the service. But, while so many officers were unfaithful, the crews, to their honor be it recorded, were true and reliable, and have maintained, through every trial and under all circumstances, their devotion to the Union and the flag." "From the 4th of March to the 4th of July, 1861, two hundred and fifty-nine officers of the navy either resigned or were dismissed from the service."
Events showed that, to complete the blockade, nearly six hundred vessels, most of them steamers, were required. This vast fleet was demanded by the peculiarities of the coast. Its outer line is more than three thousand miles in length, and,“ had it been merely necessary to guard the ports of the principal cities of the South, the task would have been comparatively easy. But this external coast-line is merely the outer edge of what may almost be called a series of isl Intricate character ands, some long, some short, some wide, and others very narrow, stretching along the whole Atlantic, behind which are sounds and connecting channels forming an almost continuous line of water, navigable for small vessels from Norfolk to Florida." Navigable inlets give passage from the ocean to these interior channels, affording many secure and secret entrances to blockade runners. These inlets, moreover, are subject to incessant changes, new ones continually opening, and old ones closing up, especially in stormy weather.
of the coast.
Requirements for the blockade.
The rapid increase of the navy is shown
Strength of the navy in the following table of steamers and sail
at close of the
ing ships in commission:
THE SEA NAVY.
March 4, 1861 .
December 7, 1863.
The completeness and stringency of the blockade is Completeness of the proved by the general destitution of the South at the close of the war, and by the fact that there still remained in those states cotton of the value of three hundred millions in gold, which it had been impossible to ship.
In giving the details of the creation of this navy, it may be conveniently classed under two heads: (1.) The Sea Navy; (2.) The River Navy.
(1.) Of the Sea Navy:
The first measures taken by the Navy Department to meet the requirement were directed to the increasing the navy purchase of such steamers in the commercial
First measures for
marine as could be adapted to the service. Orders were issued (April 21) to the officers in command of the navy yards at Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, to charter twenty steam-ships, each capable of carrying a nine-inch pivot-gun, the charter to be for three months, and the government to have the privilege of purchasing at a stipulated price. Orders for vessels of other classes were speedily given, and the government became possessed of some of the best and fastest steamers.
In building new ships, a work which was entered upon with great energy, the principles already acAmerican naval cepted in the American navy were uniformly carried into effect. These are, to attain the highest speed possible under the circumstances; to
CONSTRUCTION OF WOODEN SHIPS.
concentrate the projectile power; and, in armored ships, to reduce the exposed surface to a minimum. The attainment of high speed implies an increase in the length of the ship and a diminution of her breadth; the concentration of projectile power implies diminution of the number of guns and increase in the weight of the shot.
At the epoch of the last Anglo-American war (1812), the principle of concentration of power had
tion of power in En- been so far carried out that an American forty-four gun frigate was very nearly as powerful a machine as an English line-of-battle ship. Under an equality of rate there was therefore a very great disparity of force. Thus the English forty-four gun frigåte Guerriere, brought into action with the American frigate Constitution, also rated as a forty-four, was conquered in fifteen minutes, the weight of the broadside she threw being 517 pounds, that of her antagonist 768 pounds.
To aid in enforcing the blockade, twenty-three small The fleet of small gun-boats were forthwith constructed. They were for service in the shallow waters, each being of about five hundred tons burden, their speed nine knots, their armament one eleven-inch pivot-gun, two twenty-four-pound howitzers, and one twenty-pound howitzer. Their length was as great as that of the frigates of 1812, their breadth only half as much, their tonnage only one third. A large portion of this fleet was built and put in commission before December, 1861. These ships, together with those that had been purchased, established a blockade acknowledged in Europe as being
The Kearsarge class.
With a view to the pursuit and capture of the armed cruisers built in England, a class of steamers was constructed of which the Kearsarge may be taken as the type. They were of about 1000 tons bur
CONSTRUCTION OF WOODEN SHIPS.
den; their length 200 feet, their breadth 33; their armament two eleven-inch guns, one thirty-pound rifle, and four thirty-two-pounders, smooth bore. They were therefore longer than the old seventy-four-gun ship, and twenty feet narrower. It was one of this class, the Kearsarge, which sunk the Alabama.
It having been found that screw steamers were sometimes inefficient in narrow channels, because they can not retire without turning round, an operation sometimes very difficult in such confined places, and exposing the broadside to the enemy's fire, twelve side-wheel steamers, of 850 tons each, were built. These were followed by the conThe double-ender struction of another class, twenty-seven in number, of about 974 tons burden, with a maximum speed of 14 knots per hour. They received the name of double-enders from the fact that the ends were built alike, and they could move backward or for ward with equal facility. Seven additional ones of the same type were added; they were of heavier burden and greater speed.
A third class, still more powerful, was provided, their The Lackawanna length 237 feet, their breadth 38, their burden 1530 tons. The armament of these ships was very powerful, though not the same in all. That of the Lackawanna was one 150-pounder rifle, pivot; one 50-pounder ditto; two eleven-inch rifles, 166-pounders; four nine-inch broadside guns. Comparing this ship with the old frigate Constitution, both were of about the same burden, 1500 tons; the broadside of the former 712, of the latter 768; but the Lackawanna was five feet narrower and sixty-two feet longer than the Constitution. The concentration of power is seen in the fact that the former has only eight guns, the latter had fifty. More over, these heavy modern guns were also shell guns.
In view of the contingency of war with England or