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THE RIVER NAVY.
Energy displayed in History of the United States Navy I am quoting, says: "It was at this time that the contractor returned to St. Louis with an obligation to perform what, under ordinary circumstances, would have been deemed by most men an impossibility. Rolling-mills, machine shops, founderies, forges, and saw-mills were all idle. The engines that were to drive this, our first ironclad fleet, were yet to be built. The timber to form the hulls was uncut in the forest; the huge rollers and machinery for making their iron armor were not yet constructed. The rapidity with which all these various parts were to be supplied forbade depending on any two or three establishments in the country, no matter how great were their resources.
"The signatures were scarcely dry upon this important contract before the work was actively begun through telegraphic orders issued from Washington. Special agents were dispatched in every direction, and saw-mills were simultaneously occupied in sawing the timber required in Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, and Missouri, and railroads, steam-boats, and barges engaged for its immediate transportation. Nearly all the largest machine shops and founderies in St. Louis, and many small ones, were at once set at work day and night, and the telegraph lines between St. Louis, and Pittsburg, and Cincinnati were occupied frequently for hours in transmitting instructions to similar establishments in those cities for the construction of the twenty-one steamengines, and five-and-thirty steam boilers that were to propel the fleet. Within two weeks not less than four thou sand men were engaged in the various details of their construction. Neither the sanctity of the Sabbath nor the darkness of the night were permitted to interrupt it. On the 12th of October, 1861, the first United States ironclad, with her boilers and engines on board, was launched
CHAP. XLV.] MONITORS-TIN-CLADS-MORTAR-BOATS.
A fleet of eight com
in Missouri in forty-five days from the laying of her keel. In ten days after the Carondelet was launchpleted in one hun- ed, and the Cincinnati, Louisville, Mound City, Cairo, and Pittsburg followed in rapid succession. An eighth vessel, larger, more powerful, and superior in every respect, was also undertaken before the hulls of the first seven had fairly assumed shape. In less than one hundred days one individual put in construction and completed a powerful squadron of eight steamers, in the aggregate of five thousand tons burden, capable of steaming nine knots an hour, each heavily armored, fully equipped, and all ready for their armament of one hundred and seven large guns."
In the following year the Navy Department caused to The river monitor be constructed vessels of light draught with rotating turrets. Of two of these, the Osage and Neosho, the turrets were six inches thick and only seven feet high, the floor-beams being so bent as to al low the guns to be worked at a lower level, and permitting less height of turret. They drew less than four feet. Immediately afterward four double-turreted propellers were built; each carried four eleven-inch guns, and drew only six feet of water.
Besides the above, a number of vessels of less resisting The tin-clad class. power were provided; they were musketproof gun-boats, and passed under the title of tin-clads. In addition, mortar-boats were constructed which endured without injury the severe service to which they were subjected. "The number of discharges from these heavy mortars averaged fifteen hundred to each vessel, and yet they were none of them shaken so as to leak, and at the close of the war they were sold for nearly as much as they had originally cost."
The navy on the Western rivers steadily increased dur
the river navy.
Final strength of ing the contest. It reached at last more than a hundred steamers, all of them fully, and many of them powerfully armed.
The account of the creation of the Navy and Army contained in this and the preceding chapter American naval may perhaps be appropriately closed by some statements in relation to the changes which took place in cannon.
American naval artillerists have preferred a heavy smashing shot to a smaller and swifter one.
Up to 1860 the eight-inch gun was regarded in the English navy as the heaviest and most pow
Armament of En
glish and Ameri- erful that could be safely used on board a ship. It has been already remarked (p. 205) that, in the war of 1812, American ships were much more powerfully armed than English ones of nominally the same rate. This principle was steadily kept in view, and experiments continually made under the direction of the government, until, in 1856, frigates were armed with nine, ten, and eleven inch shell guns. Some of these were of the form known as Columbiads; they
gren, and Parrott were, however, gradually displaced by those invented by Dahlgren. During the war, both in the land and sea services, the Parrott gun was largely used. It consists of a casting bored out and rifled, and then strengthened by a band of wrought iron shrunk on the breech. These rifles have been made up to the size of a 300-pounder. The Rodman gun, which has successfully attained a bore of twenty inches, is cast upon peculiar principles. There is a core of iron in the centre of the mould, and a stream of water is introduced from a hydrant into that core. The metal, being poured into the mould, is thus cooled from the interior to the exterior. The water is introduced to the bottom of the
The Rodman gun.
core through a pipe going down its centre, and flows off at the top. The process goes on during the pouring in and cooling of the metal. The guns made by this method are much stronger than if made by the method of solid casting.
The twenty-inch gun is fired with a charge of 200 pounds of powder; its shot weighs 1100 pounds. Its range, at 25 degrees of elevation, is more than four and a half miles.
The Navy Department possessed, in March, 1861, 2468 heavy guns. Of these many were seized at
Number of ggro at the Norfolk navy yard, and most of the re
guns the beginning of the war.
mainder were on board ships scattered in distant seas. Mr. Boynton, to whose work already quoted I am indebted for many of these facts, affirms that the Navy Department had at its disposal little more than fifty really efficient guns when the conflict began.
In November, 1863, the number was 2811, of the most Number at the end approved modern patterns. About 800 of them were nine-inch and eleven-inch Dahlgrens, 700 were heavy rifles, and 36 were of fifteen inches.
PRELUDE TO THE GREAT CAMPAIGNS.
TRANSACTIONS, CIVIL AND MILITARY, IN KENTUCKY.
Introductory remarks to this section.
The Confederates intended to use the Border States as a barrier to screen themselves from the attacks of the government. Their partisans in those states endeavored to assume a position of ostensible neutrality.
The Governor of Kentucky, in opposition to its Legislature, attempted to carry the state over to the Confederacy.
It was found impossible to maintain neutrality. Kentucky was invaded both by Confederate and national troops; by the former a blockade of the Mississippi was established at Columbus.
fairs of 1861.
SEVERAL events took place in the year 1861 which, Minor military af- though they can not be regarded in a military point of view as important, or as influ encing, except indirectly, the course of the war, demand, nevertheless, a passing notice. They occurred at a period of great public depression in the North, and of excitement in the South, and hence assumed a prominence which did not truly belong to them. Among them may be mentioned the operations in Missouri, those in Northwestern Virginia, the affair at Bethel, the tragedy at Ball's Bluff. Doubtless they were all illustrated with many signal instances of military skill and daring on subordinate char- each side, and yet they must be regarded as unessential parts of the grand and bloody drama about to be enacted. They were incidents, or merely personal encounters. In the brilliancy of the
Their correct and