Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/18

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

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 one hundred and ten thousand dollars, the most of which will be for labor, the materials being nearly all on hand in the 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 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,
'"JOHN M. BROOKE, Lieutenant,
'"JOHN L. PORTER, Naval Constructor:

"The concluding part of the report states that the whole arrangements were to be made in accordance with the plan submitted.

"The facts are that no plan was submitted with this report. After the report was made, I returned immediately to the Norfolk navy yard, and made the plans of the Virginia myself, and, unaided by any one, placed the very same shield on her which was on the model I carried up with me before this board met. On the 11th day of July I returned to Richmond with this drawing, and presented it to Secretary Mallory, who immediately wrote the following order for the work with his own hand and gave it to me:



"'Flag-officer F. FORREST:

"'Sir: You will proceed with all practicable dispatch to make the changes in the form of the Merrimac, and to build, equip and fit her in all respects according to the design and plans of the constructor