Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/16
Southern Historical Society Papers.
Navy urged the work forward with all the means at the command of the government and without regard to expense; and from this day to the day of the Virginia's egress from the dock there were from one thousand to fifteen hundred men employed on her.
"The four rifled cannon used so effectively on the Virginia were of a plan entirely new, designed by Lieutenant Brooke.
"Most of the foregoing facts came to my knowledge long before the completion of the ship; others I have obtained recently from reliable sources."I am a private citizen, wholly unconnected with the Confederate or State government, but think that the public ought to know all these particulars, which reflect so much credit on the Secretary of the Navy and his officers.
"Justice" was in error in using the word " board." As will be seen, in the Secretary's report to the House of Representatives of the Confederate States," The Department ordered Chief Engineer Williamson and Constructor Porter from the navy yard at Norfolk to Richmond for consultation on the same subject generally [Lieutenant Brooke's design, approved by the Department], and to aid in the work."
The Secretary himself took part in the consultations, and directed us to put in writing the conclusions arrived at. Had we constituted a board it would so have appeared on the face of the report. Constructor Porter adopted the word "board" in his reply to "Justice," and thereafter used it as the best suited to his purpose.
A reply elicited by this article appeared in the Examiner of April 3d:
"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