Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/21
The Real Projector of the Virginia.
approach without fire. An accident to the engine, propeller or rudder would have placed the ship at the mercy of an antagonist; and this alteration was made.
"The fourth alteration was the removal of the wheel-ropes chains from beneath the plates outside, where they were liable to be jammed by a shot. Mr. Robert Archer was present when I called your attention to this liability. The alteration was not made, however, until Lieutenant Jones called your attention to it a second time.
"The fifth alteration was the making of two additional hatches your plan of detail providing for only two.
"The sixth suggestion was that arrangements should be made to permit the use of small-arms. You were left to your discretion, but a plan was given, if you could not think of a better one. You replied at length; the arguments were not considered good, and the alteration would have been made but for the delay which would have attended it. The ship is now deficient in that respect.
"The sixth proposition was to put six inches of iron on bow and stern. 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.
"SIR: In compliance with the resolution adopted by the House of Representatives on the i8th 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 the 10th day of June, 1861, Lieutenant John M. Brooke. Confederates States Navy,
"Hon. THOMAS S. BOCOCK,
"Speaker of the House of Representatives: