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the highest speed, and holding commerce at their mercy. The former are represented by such vessels as the Dictator or the Bellerophon; the latter by the Alabamas, the Madawaskas, and the Shenandoahs.

It will be readily seen, however, that, while defining thus distinctly the three agents which have wrought a revolution in modern naval warfare, it will be advantageous, in discussion, no longer to separate them in fixed phrases, as it is often difficult to tell where the influence of one ends and that of another begins. This is especially true in considering the problem of operating enormous guns by mechanical means within shotproof structures. We propose to show, farther on, and at as much length as possible, how this latter problem will affect the power, and consequently the foreign policy and political destiny, of all maritime nations.

Artillery, and of course gunpowder, were first introduced into war-vessels during the reign of Edward III., about 1350. For five hundred years, however, naval construction did not advance so much as might have been expected from this radical change in weapons. Only, by degrees, ships were divested of much of the unwieldly top-hamper which was necessary in the hand-to-hand conflicts of the Middle Ages, and shorn of masses of the ridiculous decoration, whereof some traces are still observable in the poops and figure-heads of the old-style sailing war-craft. During this long period, the changes introduced in both the modelling and the management of vessels were only such as followed from practice in navigation, - the shape, dimensions, and method of handling the sails being improved with the lapse of time and growth of experience. Not until 1842, with the introduction of the screw-propeller as a naval motor, was any radical change effected. It is said that even sailing on the wind was not generally practised until the reign of Henry VIII., and, without the knowledge of this art, naval evolutions must have been of the rudest character, not enjoying nearly the precision with which the Greeks and Romans manæuvred their war-galleys. One of the first authentic applications of mensuration to find the displacement and draft of a vessel is contained in Pepys's diary for May 19, 1666. Now this would seem to indicate that ships had previously been built by guess

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work. Yet they had been built somehow since the Ark, and constructors must have employed some means to get at so essential and so easily calculated a point as the approximate displacement and draft of a vessel. Yet the well-informed writer on the subject of Ship-Building in the Encyclopædia Britannica thinks Mr. Deane was the first to employ calculation in ship-building. He says: “ This gentleman appears therefore to be the first who applied mathematical science to naral architecture in this country.” That a discovery so obvious as that made by Archimedes during his reflections in his bath, namely, that a body floating in a fluid displaces its own weight of the fluid, should not have been applied, however unskilfully, to ascertain the displacement or volume of the proposed immersed portion of a vessel, and thus arrive at the draft of water and capacity, seems too incredible to be

From these brief illustrations, therefore, it will be seen that, however interesting the literature of naval construction during the five centuries preceding our own, it contains very little record of radical progress; and, as even that little has ceased to be of moment to us now, owing to the revolutionary changes already mentioned, we may leap this historic field at a bound.

The most marked event in naval construction in modern times, prior to the introduction of steam, was the American practice of reducing the number of naval guns, and increasing their weight. This is the secret of the naval victories of the war of 1812. Our vessels were constructed with the idea of crowding the battery-power of a full line-of-battle ship into a frigate. This idea America has persistently pursued up to the present moment, and she has been gradually followed by other maritime powers. As a result of this system, in the action between the British 44-gun frigate Guerriere and the American H-gun frigate Constitution, the former was defeated in a very few minutes by the superior battery of the latter, aided doubtless by superior gunnery practice. The weight of the Guerriere's broadside was 517 pounds; that of the Constitution, 768 pounds. Precisely the same result followed between the British Macedonian and the American United States. The ships were rated the same. Yet the former's broadside was 528 pounds, and that of the latter 864 pounds. Indeed, in those days, the weight of the broadside of an English 100-gun line-of-battle ship was about 1,260 pounds, less than one third more than that of the United States 44-gun frigate.* This superiority in American wooden ships has, according to the London Times, ever since been maintained.

At this point comes in the influence of shell-firing. The destructive effect resulting from throwing shells, instead of balls, into wooden ships has been so marked, that more than one claim for the merit of the adaptation has been made. But it is difficult to mark the line between “ vertical" shell-firing, i. e. that of missiles projected from mortars, and “horizontal” shellfiring, or the projection of shells from guns. For example, under which head shall be put the shell practice against Charleston from General Gillmore's guns on Morris Island, in any accurate classification? The high angle from which these guns were fired would hardly entitle them to be cited under “horizontal” shell-firing. At all events, the naval warfare of the last five years has demonstrated the change which long ago was prophesied as the result of the introduction of this modern artillery practice. Sloops, with but one tier of guns, and yet with a displacement equal to that of an old lineof-battle ship, and a proportion of steam-power greater than has ever been placed in steam-vessels for sea-going purposes, are the kind of war-vessels we see now building. Just before the general introduction of iron-clads, America and England had each a series of powerful wooden vessels, which illustrated the point of concentration and weight of battery. The battery of the well-known Victoria, an English 121-gun ship, is far inferior to that of our vessels of the Minnesota class, of 44 or 52 guns, in range, in accuracy, and in power. And in spite of the former's superiority in size of ship, number of guns, and num

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* James's Naval History.

† The French General Paixhans is generally, but erroneously, regarded as the originator of horizontal shell-firing; the real inventor is Colonel Bomford of the American Army, who planned the Columbiad. Sir Howard Douglas (Naval Gunnery, Art. 310, 311) discourses on the anticipated effeets of employing shells; and a letter of General Paix hans, published in the Moniteur of February, 1854, on the burning of the Turkish fleet at Sinope by the Russian shells during the Crimean war, shows that this was the first action in which his shell was employed.

ber of men, the victory, in a contest between a representative American frigate and a representative British line-of-battle ship, other things being equal, must terminate in favor of the American.*

It was the terrible destructiveness of heavy shells, anticipated at the outset by artillerists, which caused attention to be turned to the necessity of providing iron plates for ships. From the moment that shells were introduced, the collected wooden navies of the world began to lose their value. To test the question, the Admiralty anchored the frigate Hussar off Shoeburyness, in the fall of 1862, and threw at her concussionshells from a shell-gun. Every one of them went into her and set her afire, and very soon she burned to the water's edge. Heavy shells go through wood like card-board, and fire it with astonishing facility. Discipline is almost as difficult to preserve, under such circumstances, as in a battalion enfiladed by a flank fire. And, in any case, it distracts attention from manning the guns. The larger the ship and the more numerous her crew, the more terrible and demoralizing is the slaughter; for, pent in the narrow wooden walls, with no chance of retreat, the seamen exposed to a shellfire are literally slaughtered.† And this is the way the intro

Oar heavy frigates of 1854 were the Merrimack, Minnesota, Wabash, Colorado, Roanoke, and Niagara. The first five were of about 4,000 tons' displacement, but were intended to carry a battery of forty-two 9-inch Dahlgrens, and two 11-inch Dahlgren pivots, both of which can project solid shot or shells.

The Minnesota's armament during the war consisted of one 8-inch rifle pivot, one 11-inch Dahlgren pivot, forty-two 9-inch Dahlgrens in broadside, four 6.4-inch rifles, and four Dahlgren howitzers. The weight of her broadside of solid shot was 2,606 pounds; that her broadside of shells was 2,123 pounds. Her complement of men was about 650. (Sec Ordnance Report for 1864.) The displacement of the Niagara was over 5,000 tons, and her original battery was twelve 11-inch Dahlgrens, so mondted as to be used on either side. These celebrated vessels were regarded as hav. ing reached the consummation of horizontal shell-firing. Immediately after the famous visit of the Merrimack to Southampton, England commenced building a fleet of frigates to match ours, consisting of such vessels as the Diadem, Mersey, and Or. lando. The Victoria, the first of the English line-of-battle ships, was of 5,083 tons' displacement, and carries one hundred and twenty-one guns, as follows: lower deck, thirty-two 8-inch shell guns; middle deck, thirty 8-inch shell guns; main deck, thirty-two 32-pounders ; upper deck, twenty-six 32-pounders, one 68-pounder pivot; weight of broadside, about 2,500 pounds; total complement of men, 1,150.

+ "We can only feebly imagine the scene after the explosion, under these circum. stances, of a few Armstrong segment-shells, scattering deadly fragments of thick

duction of heavy shell-firing has revolutionized warfare. It has quietly dismissed to oblivion great and expensive navies, and sent them to rot in dock-yards, or to be employed in the pacific work of transporting troops or supplies. Two elements, however, here come into play. The first is the heaviness of the ordnance, on the principle of concentration; and the second, the nature of the projectile, i. e. the explosive shell. It will not do to throw light shells in these days of iron-clads.* It is a little singular to note the repeated lessons on the concentration of destructive artillery which America has taught older nations. They began, as we have explained, with the affair of the Constitution and Guerriere, and were manifest all through the war of 1812. Again, in 1854, our heavy frigates taught the same lesson pacifically, and then England heeded it. The third instance was in the battle between the American ship Kearsarge and the Englisht ship Alabama. This was the first battle ever fought between two vessels in which horizontal shell-firing was employed. And Dahlgren's 11-inch shells sent his opponent to the bottom. The firing of the wooden fleet in Hampton Roads by the shells of the Merrimac had already

iron on every side. Our old wooden three-deckers have been not inappropriately designated “floating charnel-houses," and such they would inevitably become in a few minutes after the commencement of an action, with our modern appliances for the destruction of human life. No sane or unprejudiced person, we suppose, would trust the honor of the nation to these picturesque and fine old ships, which heretofore have been our salvation and our glory.” The Quarterly Review, January, 1864, article on “ Guns and Platcs."

* On a trial of 130-pound shells against the Warrior plate, the Report of the British Committee on Ordnance says : “Heavier guns, capable of being used with much larger charges of powder, must be adopted before horizontal shell-firing can be looked upon as very destructive to a ship of the Warrior class."

† It is remembered, of course, that the Confederate government had bought this ship of the English; but we speak of it in a mere professional point of view, as illustrating a system of national construction and handling in which, naturally, we cannot use the term “ Confederate.” This ship being English from truck to keelson; every spar, every inch of canvas, every rope in her, English ; built in Eng. land; manned by a greater proportion of English native-born subjects than many ships in the Royal Navy; her crew picked, as usual, in English fighting vessels, from men who had been on the English training ships ; her artillery all English; and the mode of manæuvring and fighting English ; – these things being so, the fact that the Alabama was not flying the English colors is a point for political historians to consider, but it has no scientific bearing. Had the contest resulted otherwise than it did, the glory could not have been robbed from England by the flaunting of Confederate colors.

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