Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/23

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17
The Real Projector of the Virginia.

that character, mounting * * * * heavy guns; and from the further consideration that we cannot procure a suitable engine and boiler for any other vessel without building them, which would occupy too much time, it would appear that this is our only chance to get a suitable vessel in a short time. The bottom of the hull, boilers and heavy and costly parts of the engine being but little injured, reduce the cost of construction to about one-third of the amount which would be required to construct such a vessel anew. We cannot, without further examination, make an accurate estimate of the cost of the proposed work, but think it will be about——, the most of which will be for labor, the materials being nearly all in the navy-yard, except the iron plating to cover the shield. The plan to be adopted in the arrangement of the shield for glancing shot, mounting guns, arranging the hull, etc., and plating, to be in accordance with the plan submitted for the approval of the Department.

"'We are, with much respect, your obedient servants,

"'WILLIAM P. WILLIAMSON,
"'Chief Engineer Confederate States Navy,
"JOHN M. BROOKE,
"'Lieutenant, Confederate States Navy,
"'JOHN L. PORTER,
"'Naval Constructor.'

"Immediately upon the adoption of the plan Porter was directed to proceed with the constructor's duties. Mr. Williamson was charged with the engineer's department, and to Mr. Brooke were assigned the duties of attending to and preparing the iron and forwarding it from the Tredegar Works, the experiments necessary to test the plates and determine their thickness, and devising heavy rifled ordnance for the ship, with the details pertaining to ordnance. Mr. Porter cut the ship down, submerged her ends, performed all the duties of constructor, and originated all the interior arrangements by which space has been economized; and he has exhibited energy, ability and ingenuity. Mr. Williamson thoroughly overhauled her engines, supplied deficiencies and repaired defects, and improved greatly the motive power of the vessel. Mr. Brooke attended daily to the iron, constructed targets, ascertained by actual tests the resistance offered by inclined planes of iron to heavy ordnance, and determined interesting and important facts in connection therewith, and which were of great importance in the construction of the ship; devised and prepared the models and drawings of the ship's heavy ordnance, being