Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/24

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

guns of a class never before made and of extraordinary power and strength.

"It is deemed inexpedient to state the angle of inclination, the character of the plates upon the ship, the manner of preparing them, or the number, calibre and weights of the guns; and many novel and interesting features of her construction, which were experimentally determined, are necessarily omitted.

"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. It was never before adopted. The resistance of iron plates to heavy ordnance, whether presented in vertical planes or at low angles of inclination, had been investigated in England before the Virginia was commenced, and Major Barnard, U.S.A., had referred to the subject in his Sea-Coast Defences. We were without accurate data, however, and we were compelled to determine the inclination of the plates and their thickness and form by actual experiment.

"The Department has freely consulted the three excellent officers referred to throughout the labors on the Virginia, and they have all exhibited signal energy and zeal.

"I have the honor to be,
"Very respectfully,
"Your obedient servant,

"Secretary of the Navy."

basic ship plan.

On the 11th of April the Examiner published Mr. Porter's reply to the Secretary's report.


"NAVY YARD, GOSPORT, April 8, 1862.

"To the Editor of the Examiner:
"Under this caption I find in the Examiner of the 4th instant a report of the Secretary of the Navy to Congress, giving a detailed statement of the origin of the iron-clad Virginia.