Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/29

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23
The Real Projector of the Virginia.

The plan of Mr. Porter's model could not have been carried out on the Merrimac, except by extending the shield to cover her ends.

"The report next states that Mr. Porter approved of the plan of submerged ends, and made a clean drawing of Lieutenant Brooke's plan, which that officer then filed with the Department." Note the reply. "How could I disapprove of my own model which had submerged ends two feet." Here Mr. Porter does not deny that he made a clean drawing of Lieutenant Brooke's plan. He virtually admits that he made the drawing, and that it had submerged ends. In what sense were the ends of his model submerged when compared with the extended submerged ends of Lieutenant Brooke's plan?

"And the only drawing I ever made of the Virginia was made in my office in this navy-yard, and which I presented to the Department on the 11th day of July. * * * This drawing and plan I considered my own, and not Lieutenant Brooke's plan. So soon as I presented this plan the Secretary wrote the following order, when everything was fresh in his mind concerning the whole matter."

The "drawing" or "plan" presented by Mr. Porter was simply a working plan, giving, from actual measurement in feet and inches, the relative dimensions of the various parts of the structure, in conformity with the design adopted by the Department. The order has no reference to the origin of the design. Chief Engineer Williamson's plans are embraced in the order. As well might he have claimed by this order to be the originator of the design of the engines.

The Secretary says: "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."

The Secretary has nowhere said that Mr. Porter originated the design or plan applied to the Merrimac.

The concluding part of this report says:

"'The novel plan of submerging the ends of the ship and the eaves of the casemate, however, is the peculiar and distinctive feature of the Virginia.' This may be all true, but it is just what my model calls for.'"