Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/26

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

over with iron, and a rough breakwater built on it to throw off the water forward. 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. How could I disapprove of my own model, which had submerged ends two feet? And the only drawing I ever made of the Virginia was made in my office at this navy-yard, and which I presented to the Department on the nth day of July, just sixteen days after this board adjourned, having been ordered to Richmond on other business. This drawing and plan I considered my own, and not Lieutenant Brooke's. So soon as I presented this plan the Secretary wrote the following order, when everything was fresh in his mind concerning this whole matter:

"'NAVY DEPARTMENT, Richmond, July 11, 1862.

"'Flag-Officer F. FORREST:

" ' SIR: You will proceed with all practicable despatch 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 and engineer, Messrs. Porter and Williamson.

"'Secretary Confederate States Navy.'

"What, I would ask, could be more explicit than this letter, or what words could have established my claims any stronger if I had dictated them. 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; and if Lieutenant Brooke presented rough drawings to the Department carrying out the same views, it may be called a singular coincidence. And here I would remark that my model was not calculated to have much speed, but was intended for harbor defence only, and was of light draft, the eaves extending over the entire length of the model, and submerged all around two feet—sides and ends—and the line on which I cut the ship down was just in accordance with this; but if Lieutenant Brooke's ideas, which were submitted to the Secretary in his rough drawings, had have been carried out, to cut her