Page:The Fall of Maximilan's Empire.djvu/20

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him rests, first of all, the onus of a correct interpretation of his orders in their widest bearing; and then must he, by tact and forbearance, associated with a bold front, do his utmost to execute the duty with which he is charged.

The "Tacony" was a wooden double-ender of 934 tons, a sister ship to the much-abused "Tallapoosa," which vessel, somewhat altered afterwards, has of late years been so familiar to the casual reader of the American newspapers. The double-enders were a type of vessel, the conception of which was due to the exigencies of the civil war; of light draft in proportion to their displacement, they could carry heavy batteries and large crews in shallow water. Being designed for river work, and not for the high seas, it is not to be wondered at if these vessels were regarded with distrust when detailed for the latter service. Being side-wheelers, with the machinery high above water, their efficiency in a strictly naval fight was limited; and their manœuvring qualities, or rather the lack of them, became a by-word in the navy.

The "Tacony's" battery consisted of two sixty-pounder rifles in pivot, and four eight-inch smoothbores in broadside, besides four small howitzers; and she had a complement of 144 officers and men.

Such was the little vessel that was destined to take a not unimportant part in the events connected with the re-occupation of a part of Mexico by the Liberal or patriot forces.