Friday, June 24, 2011

Merrimack to become ironclad

Burning of USS Merrimack, April 1861
  • At Mathias Point, Virginia, Federal gunboats begin shelling Confederate batteries./1861
  • Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen F. Mallory had asked a panel to develop a plan to make ironclads for the Confederacy on June 3. Today the panel delivers its report on Confederate naval ironclad design by Lieutenant John Mercer Brooke, Naval Constructor John Luke Porter, and Chief Engineer William Price Williamson. The panel recommends that the Merrimack, a ship that was partially burned and sunk at the Norfolk Gosport Naval Yard in April by the departing US Navy be transformed into an ironclad./1861
  • In the hayloft of Hall’s carriage shop across the street from the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., J.D. Mills of New York demonstrates for President Lincoln a new gun with one barrel mounted on an artillery carriage, which Mills calls “an Army in six feet square.” Lincoln himself turns the crank of the contraption, which fires regular .58 calibre bullets from steel jackets, then neatly drops the jackets into a bin for reloading. Lincoln is delighted, remarking that it reminds him of a coffee mill. The name stuck. Despite several commanders ordering them, they proved too technically difficult and were too innovative for the US War Department to order their general adoption./1861

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