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THE INVENTOR ERICSSON.
cial draft, which he had the satisfaction officials were thus insensible to the demof testing with remarkable success in a onstration before their very eyes, the inbrilliant prize exhibition on the small ventor found more appreciative obseryportion of the track then laid of the ers in two citizens of the United States, Liverpool and Manchester railway. Up who entered into his schemes with the to that time the highest rate expected warmest interest. One of these was Mr. from the locomotive engine was ten miles. Francis B. Ogden of New Jersey, himEricsson, assisted by John Braithwaite a self an experimenter in steam navigaLondon mechanician, with whom he had tion, and the other Captain Robert F. become associated in the enterprise, Stockton of the navy, who saw at once guided his engine, which he named the the importance of the application. So Novelty, at a rate of more than fifty heartily did the latter enter into the matmiles an hour. At this demonstration ter, ordering two iron boats for the Delathe shares of the company on the instant ware, and promising his aid in bringing rose ten per cent. Unhappily for our the invention before the Government at mechanician, another mode of producing Washington, that Mr. Ericsson was inthe draft was speedily brought out, which duced to leave England for the United superseded his design, and he derived no States. He came to this country in pecuniary benefit from his invention. He 1839, and by the exertions of Captain was, however, profitably employed in Stockton was employed by the governvarious other mechanical contrivances, ment in the construction of the propeller particularly in the construction of steam Princeton. Various improvements were fire-engines, which he introduced in Lon- introduced by him in this vessel in the don and at Berlin with eminent success. direct-acting engine, in placing the ma
It was at this time that he worked out chinery below the water line, in the the plan of the propeller to be applied sliding telescope chimneys, and in the to steam navigation, proving the value management of her heavy ordnance. of his theory by a successful experiment After this work was completed, Mr. Eron the Thames. He then brought the icsson devoted himself to the completion invention to the notice of the British of the Caloric or Atmospheric Engine, Government, with the hope of effecting which he had projected in England where its introduction into the naval service, the plan met with favor from the distinand succeeded so far as to secure the guished chemists Faraday and Ure. In presence of Sir Charles Adam, the senior 1852, he had so far perfected the inyenlord of the Admiralty, Sir William Sim- tion as to introduce it in the construconds chief constructor of the British navy, tion of the steamer Ericsson. There was Sir Edward Parry, Captain Beaufort, and some disappointment as to the speed exother scientific notables, at a trial on the pected from this vessel, but in other river. These eminent personages accom- points she was much admired. The conpanied the propeller in a barge, witnessed structor then applied his invention sucits excellent operation, and rejected the cessfully on a smaller scale, in engines improvement, preferring the old paddle- for printing, hoisting, and other working wheels. His Majesty's chief constructor, of machinery. When the war brought Sir William, it seems, was of the opinion all sorts of mechanical contrivances for that, “even if the propeller had the the furtherance of military operations power of propelling a vessel, it would into requisition, it was not to be supbe found altogether useless in practice, posed that the genius of so active an inbecause the power being applied in the ventor would remain idle. He accordstern, it would be absolutely impossible ingly applied himself to the necessities to make the vessel steer." While these of the day, and the perfect experiment of the Monitor, wrought out and com- as to the propriety of completing those pleted with his accustomed rapidity—| four steel-clad ships at three and a half the vessel was launched at Greenpoint, millions apiece.* On these and many Long Island, one hundred and one days similar grounds, I propose to name the after signing the contract—was the tri- new battery Monitor." umphant first fruits of his labors.
Fortunately, the success of the extraThe name of this new vessel, it was ordinary machine was early demonstratobserved, was somewhat peculiar, being ed, for had the experiment lagged or been quite distinct from the usual sounding in any way defeated the venturesome appellations given to this species of de boast and challenge to the Old World structive craft, which are taken generally might have returned to plague the invenfrom natural objects, a popular hero or tor, to whom it would have been a ceasefrom some vindictive or patriotic associa- less mortification to be haunted by this tion. The Monitor seemed quite out of grim iron monitor pointing to his miscalthe family of the Scorpions, Furies, Tusculations. The man of science, however, caroras, General Jacksons, and the rest rested his pretensions on an unerring deof this valiant brood of gunboats. On monstration. It was not a creation of the contrary, its plain didactic designa- taste or fancy upon which he was vaintion seemed to savor more of the lineage gloriously anticipating the critical judgof a New England school book than of ment of the public, but an irresistible the fiery race of sea warriors. In fact, argument of mechanical forces, obdurate the name was given with something of and invincible. He might therefore, as this very design, as an instructive lesson an interpreter of the great powers of to the world in the art of naval construc- nature, indulge in some confidence in the tion. This appeared very clearly, when, result of his workmanship. in answer to enquiries on the subject, a | The success of the Merrimac in her letter was published in the newspapers, first day's adventure was hailed with enwhich, nearly two months before, on the thusiasm throughout the South, where 20th of January, Mr. Ericsson had ad-projects of iron-plated defences, as we dressed on this topic to Mr. Gustavus V. I have seen in Charleston harbor, in the Fox, the assistant secretary of the navy. attack on Sumter, and in Hollin's “turIt read as follows : “Sir : In accordance tle" on the Mississippi, had from the bewith your request, I now submit for your ginning been in favor. “ The iron-clad approbation a name for the floating bat- steamer Virginia,” calculated the Charlestery at Greenpoint. The impregnable ton Mercury, “cost $185,000 to fit her and aggressive character of this struc-up, and in one day destroyed over 1,100,ture will admonish the leaders of the 000 worth of Yankee property.” This southern rebellion that the batteries on was an economical method of estimating the banks of their rivers will no longer the glory of a victory. By the side of present barriers to the entrance of the these figures was an extract from a priUnion forces. The iron-clad intruder vate letter from Mr. John L. Porter, the will thus prove a secure monitor to those naval constructor of the Virginia, which leaders. But there are other leaders shows that the career of inventors is who will also be startled and admonished ever the same ; exposed to doubts and by the booming of the guns from the im- shrugs and misgivings, till success crowns pregnable iron turret. Downing street their work, and sets the croakers to clapwill hardly view with indifference this ping their hands. “I received,” says he, last Yankee notion-this monitor. To the Lords of the Admiralty the new
* The Agincourt, Minotaur, Northumberland, and other
costly iron vessels were then in process of construction in craft will be a monitor, suggesting doubts | England.
A REVOLUTION IN NAVAL ARCHITECTURE.
“but little encouragement from any one lars, of which half a million was furn. while the Virginia was progressing. Hun- ished by the government, the rest by the dreds—I may say thousands-asserted projectors, were spent on her construcshe would never float. Some said she tion in about twenty months, when the would turn bottom-side up; others said work was interrupted. An equal sum, the crew would suffocate ; but the most it was calculated, would secure her comwise said the concussion and report from pletion. Her plan, combining on a vast the guns would deafen the men. Some scale the various conditions now urged said she would not steer; and public as the most important in the construcopinion generally about here said she tion of iron-plated vessels, certainly enwould never come out of the dock. You titled the eminent mechanicians, her prohave no idea what I have suffered injectors, to credit for priority in skill and mind since I commenced her ; but I invention in devices of this nature. knew what I was about, and persevered. All this argued an entire revolution in Some of her inboard arrangements are naval architecture of a character which of the most intricate character, and have would have struck the soul of a Decatur caused me many sleepless nights in mak- or Bainbridge with dismay. In place of ing them ; but all have turned out right, the lofty tapering spars, the white wings and thanks are due to a kind Providence, of canvas, and the beautifully modelled whose blessings on my efforts I have hull, the attributes of the gallant frigate many times invoked.”*
of the olden time, on whose deck her As an experiment in the science of commander seemed to be in league with naval warfare, the encounter between the the noblest powers of nature, the free two iron-clad vessels was, at the time, of breath of the winds and the ceaseless peculiar interest. England and France play of waters, the proud eminence of were at the very moment constructing the quarter-deck was degraded to the iniron-plated ships of war of vast size, and glorious confinement of some well-riveted devising extraordinary batteries of a iron box or tube, half submerged, forging similar character for coast defence. The its way through the waters by a slavish British Parliament was debating the sub- mechanical power, with but little assistject, and inspectors, engineers, and lords ance from or dependence upon the versaof the Admiralty, were busy in testing tile will or quick inspiring intellect of various formidable contrivances, none of man. In the steam frigate the captain which, in economy of construction, light or commodore shared his authority with ness of draft, and general efficiency, ap- the engineer, but he had still his deck to peared comparable to the unheralded walk upon and his sailors to command. work of Mr. Ericsson.
Here he was to be “cabined, cribbed, At home, attention was called anew to confined" in a gloomy apartment, fit the subject of iron-plated vessels, several only for a stoker, to be begrimed with of which, already in hand, were ap- smoke, and, in time of action, stunned proaching completion under government with the shock of his iron ramparts. contract, and particularly to the forward How would Nelson, who went into an ing of the Stevens battery at New York. engagement blazing with stars and orThis work, the most gigantic of its class, ders, disdaining protection from the fiery was first suggested to the government by hail around him, chafe and fret at his Robert L. and Edwin A. Stevens in narrow quarters in a segment of a chim1841, and was commenced at Hoboken, ney-from which, if his physical powers opposite the city of New York, in 1854. were equal to the pressure of such an atAbout three quarters of a million of dol-mosphere, and he did not swoon on the * Charleston Mercury, March 22, 1862.
instant, he might indeed conquer, but the victory would be a triumph, not so much early limit to the weight of these iron of mind as of matter : of the iron shield structures on the ocean, checking the rather than the iron will.
fierceness of attack, the opportunity for But everything, however unpleasant, resistance will be much greater where has its compensations. If war is thus to there will be little necessity for movelose something of its beauty and attrac-ment. Batteries of the largest size may tiveness, the end for which wars are rest in quiet havens, and others of the undertaken may be more speedily and smallest build may ply about their wasurely attained by agents so destructive, ters, powerful for purposes of protection, unless both parties being equally well when neither could survive a passage on provided, like the mailed knights of the the broad ocean. In this way the danmiddle ages, they batter one another gers of invasion may be lessened, and with no ill effect beyond a few dints on wars be checked. the armor. It might be thrown out, in- ! In another light, the cost of these gideed, as a curious subject of speculation, gantic engines gives to the nation, able whether these enormous engines of solid to procure or produce them, an immense iron and these vast rifled diameters dis- superiority over less wealthy or less scicharging hundred-weights of the wrought entific countries. As invention advances metal in a single ball, will really lead to they will become more expensive, and the suppression of war. May they not the disparity between first and second rather, while the passions of men furn-class powers will be greater. A great ish the fuel, tend only to promote a riv- advantage also will be gained by the naalry in the mechanical arts; nation striv- tion first in the field with these destrucing against nation to produce bulwarks tive agents. Political problems hitherto and artillery of the greatest strength difficult of solution may be solved by and size. The most powerful empire earlier possession of the iron-mailed sea will then be that which has the largest warriors. It is hardly too much to say forges and the most cunning artificers. that any power who shall be permitted One result, however, certainly will fol- to enjoy any considerable superiority in low. Greater security will be given to the new weapon, whose triumphs are home defences. Forts may be strength- foreshadowed in the exploit of the Monened, and harbors guarded beyond all litor, will be, for the time, mistress of precedent ; for while there must be an the world.
THE BATTLE OF NEWBERN, N. C., MARCH 14, 1862.
ROANOKE ISLAND and the region of free to push their conquests below in the North Carolina resting upon Albemarle important portion of the State, presentSound, as we have seen, were taken pos- ing a ready means of approach by the session of by the army of General Burn- waters of Pamlico Sound and its tribuside and the fleet of Commodore Golds- | tary rivers. Washington, on Pamlico borough, early in February, 1862. These river, and Newbern, on the Neuse river, valuable points commanding direct com- were the chief depots in this quarter of munication with Norfolk having been the staple productions—the lumber, tar, thus secured, the Union forces were left turpentine, and naval stores of the coun
THE EXPEDITION TO NEWBERN.
con and Wellel of the Chhac had recall
try. Newbern, in its size and position, vance on the steam transports which was one of the chief cities in the State. I took them in tow. Though numbering, according to the Cen- The military force of the expedition, sus of 1860, but 5,432 inhabitants, its in all about 8,000, was composed of the population exceeded that of the capital, three brigades of Generals Foster, Parke, Raleigh, by several hundreds, and was and Reno—the regiments of Pennsylvasecond only to the seaport Wilmington. nia, New Jersey, New York, ConnectiIn social consequence, having formerly cut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts been the seat of government, its posses- soldiers, who had encountered the hardsion was of no little influence in the ships at Hatteras, and fought at Roanoke. State. It was, moreover, by the Atlan- The fleet of gunboats, six in number, in tic and North Carolina railroad, imme- the absence of Commodore Goldsborough, diately connected with Beaufort on the whom the bold and destructive raid of ocean forty miles below, and with Golds- the Merrimac had recalled to the waters boro' sixty miles in the interior, the chief of the Chesapeake, was commanded by station on the Wilmington and Weldon flag-officer S. C. Rowan, the next in railway. Situated at the junction of two rank. rivers, the Trent and the Neuse, once Early in the morning, previously to gained, it might, without difficulty, be starting, the following order from Genheld by gunboats. In every way, as a eral Burnside was read to the various healthy and convenient location for the regiments : “The General commanding troops, for its control of the trade of a takes pleasure in announcing that the large district, and as a base of military Army of the Potomac, under General operations for a descent upon Beaufort, McClellan, is now advancing upon Richor for further advances inland, its pos- mond, and was, at the latest dates, ocsession would be of the utmost value. cupying Centreville, the enemy having Newbern, in fact, was the next desirable evacuated all the advanced fortifications prize for the Union army in North Caro- before Manassas, and those on the Potolina.
mac. He again calls upon his command The first week in March saw the pre for an important movement, which will parations in progress for a reëmbarka- greatly demoralize the enemy, and contion of the troops from the headquarters tribute much to the success of our brothof General Burnside at Roanoke Island. ers of the Potomac Army. He has full The immediate destination of the gun-confidence in the ability of this force to boats and transports was Hatteras Inlet. produce the desired result." To coöpeThe force intended for the expedition rate with the main army, to promote the was assembled at that place on the 11th, interests of his friend, the commander-inand the following morning was set in mo-chief, to advance the cause of the Union, tion in the direction of Newbern, the new were, far beyond any thoughts of himpoint of attack. The day was unusually self, the paramount motives of General calm and pleasant, and its favorable in- Burnside at this crisis. A more selffluences were more keenly appreciated denying order was probably never isin contrast with the severe storm of hail sued on the eve of so important an enand rain, a not unusual visitor of the gagement. The General's thoughts were locality, which had raged but a day or of others, not of himself. two before. The water, indeed, in this The distance from Hatteras across the storm-haunted region of Hatteras, was Sound, some fifty miles, was traversed so smooth, and the light north-westerly during the day without difficulty, and at breeze so gentle, that the sailing vessels evening the vessels of the expedition were entirely dependent for their ad- I were anchored off the mouth of Slocum's