Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tors, if it should be our good fortune to finish on pivots, have ascended our rivers with impuand equip our own vessels of that class in time nity, frightened the people on shore, and conto meet them on equal terms. For since Abou- | trolled the country for miles around. The preskir and Trafalgar-a longer pause than was evertige that attended them at first, and cost us so

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

sounding-line. The Yankee gunboats occasion- ive account or we nisi visus va como ally, with their light draughts and powerful guns iron-clad, the Danish monitor Rolf Krake, before

[graphic][merged small]

tors, if it should be our good fortune to finish on pivots, have ascended our rivers with impuand equip our own vessels of that class in time nity, frightened the people on shore, and conto meet them on equal terms. For since Abou- trolled the country for miles around. The pres. kir and Trafalgar-a longer pause than was ever tige that attended them at first, and cost us so before known in the history of Europe-there dear, has, however, completely vanished. Like have been no great naval fights, where fleets have every dreaded danger, they succumbed as they met and the empire of the ocean has been at stake. were fairly looked in the face. Now we know Great wars have been carried on by land, but the fully their vulnerability, and the perils of a water sea has not been the scene of like great conflicts. transport for troops, with their helplessness when During this long truce, two new elements—steam attacked in boats. and improved projectiles-have entirely changed "Since the first trials, however, the Yankees the conditions of such contests.

have made great efforts to remedy the evils that “Vessels have become independent in their attended their early iron-clads—their want of movements. Wind or tide may aid or impede, buoyancy, their sinking too deep forward to apbut they are no longer essential, and steam en proach well at certain landings, the necessity to ables them to approach each other at will, un- tow them out at sea, and their slowness, which trammelled by external agencies. The power of would embarrass the fleet to which they may be the engines of war which they carry has steadily attached. They claim now to possess vessels as increased; and in precise proportion as the pro- buoyant and free in motion as ordinary steamers, jectile gained in weight and distance, the means impenetrable to any known projectile, including of defence were improved in the armament of the new Whitworth arms, and provided with a vessels. Thus, we have now guns of a calibre heavier armament than the last built iron-clads unknown since the first days of artillery, and of the English. These they propose to carry into ships armed like the mailed knights of the middle our harbors, and if we there can meet them, a ages. They promise a truly fearful character for conflict such as the world has not seen' yet will the result of the first hostile meeting on a large take place. The famous deeds of our noble Merscale.

rimac will be repeated, and England especially “The experiments heretofore made with iron- will watch the result with intense interest, as she clad vessels have been but very imperfect trials. well knows that these Yankee iron-clads were, in During the Crimean war certain 'floating bat. reality, not built for us, but for British ports teries' of the French attacked the very strong and British vessels. After Mr. Seward's insolent batteries of Kinsburn, and silenced them with despatch to Mr. Adams, which Earl Russell so apparent ease. They were, however, mere iron conveniently ignored, they are amply forewarned. boxes, having neither masts nor yards, and, in " Another fleet of smaller but equally dangerfact, in no point like the iron-clads of our day, ous vessels has been built in the interior of the with their plate armor at the sides and their tur-country, and there is no doubt that the Yankees rets on deck. A trial on a larger scale was con will again send out the fleet of light gunboats, templated against the forts of Venice, when peace well armed and iron-clad, to force their way into came and resigned them to the dockyard. regions otherwise inaccessible, to carry war to

“In our navy, also, the vessels of the enemy waters where they are least expected, and to overhave, with the exception of the fight with the come shore defences by a tempest of converging Merrimac, attempted only the reduction of stone fire. They will again try to illustrate the powerwalls at Charleston. Successful in beating down sul aid which a land army may receive from the brick and mortar, and reducing granite to atoms, kindred branch afloat, manæuvring on its flank, their projectiles have been found powerless against and supporting it by bold demonstrations. It is sand-bags and heaps of rubbish. The only seri. fortunate for us that we are both forewarned and ous encounter that can be called a fair trial of forearmed. We have been steadily informed of iron-clads resulted in the destruction of the mon- the powerful engines of war prepared for our deitor Kcokuk, by the superiority of our project-struction. We have had our successes on the iles-steel bolts and spherical shot-devised by Lower James and in Charleston harbor. Brooke, the ingenious inventor of the deep-sea “We have, just in time, received the instructsounding-line. The Yankee gunboats occasion- ive account of the first trial of an English-built ally, with their light draughts and powerful guns iron-clad, the Danish monitor Rolf Krake, before

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »