Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/9

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3

SOUTHERN HISTORICAL SOCIETY PAPERS,




Vol. XIX.
1891.
Richmond, Va. January.



THE VIRGINIA, OR MERRIMAC:

HER REAL PROJECTOR.


In the Richmond Dispatch of March 29th appeared an article, written by Mr J. W. H. Porter, under the supervision of Constructor John L. Porter, purporting to be a "correct version of the converting of the Merrimac into an iron-clad." Mr Porter says :

"In your issue of Sunday last, in the communication of Mr. Virginius Newton, headed 'The Merrimac's Men', there appears the following :

"'Upon this hulk, according to plans furnished by Lieutenant John M. [Mercer] Brooke, of the Confederate States Navy (though the merit of the design is also claimed for Naval Constructor John L. Porter), was built a house or shield,' &c.

" This does a grave injustice to a gallant old Confederate and Virginian, who sacrificed his all upon the altar of his country; and had Mr. Newton known fully the facts it is believed that he would have published his article with the names above reversed."

The following dispassionate statement of Colonel Brooke of the facts connected with the conversion of the Merrimac is conclusive:

In October, 1887, I was requested by the editor of the Century to prepare a note stating what my relations were to the construction of the Merrimac. This note, containing the only public reference to Mr. Porter or his claim that I have ever made, will be found in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. I, p. 715; and on the following page a similar note by Constructor John L. Porter as to his relations. To these notes the attention of the reader is invited. But as the