Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Iron Battery Naugatuck

The government is soon to be place in possession of a small but staunch iron gunboat, the gift of Mr. Stevens, contractor for the famous floating battery at Hoboken.  This craft was originally a canal boat, and has been fitted up at Bordentown, N. J., with a screw propellers, water-tight partitions, and at the contrivances for sinking her to a fighting depth which have been introduced in the great battery.  She is, in fact, designed to illustrate on a small scale, the principal novelties and merits of that mammoth concern; and at a preliminary test to which she was subjected some months ago, in the presence of a large number of army and navy officers and scientific gentlemen, she was found to work admirably.  She could be entirely submerged, with the exception of her gunwale, in a few minutes, and could be quickly turned about, like a [teetotum], in her own length.  Since those satisfactory experiments, Mr. Stevens has still further strengthened her and improved her sailing and fighting qualities, and is now prepared to turn her over to the Government free of expense, for active service.  Her name is Naugatuck.  Her dimensions are those of an ordinary canal boat, and she will be sent by canal from New York, where is now is to Washington.  Her speed above water, is ten knots and hour, when submerged to the depth of 7½ feet, about seven.  She can carry coal for twelve days, and a crew large enough to work the vessel and handle her armament.  The latter consists of a single 100 pounder of the Parrott pattern, which experiments have proved to be perhaps the most formidable rifled gun in the world. – Whenever the Naugatuck is sunk to her fighting depth by the admission of water to the chambers in her bow and stern, her entire machinery, steering apparatus and vulnerable parts will be below the water line; and nothing will be exposed to the enemy’s shots but a narrow strip of white pine, (which does not splinter,) constituting the gunwale, and the gun itself.  Her small size and the scantiness of her exposed lines, would enable her to approach close to a hostile vessel in a dark night, and deliver her 100-pounder with terrible effect.  The Naugatuck will start for Washington at an early day.  Captain Faunce, late of the revenue cutter Harriet Lane, has, by directions of the Government, inspected this novel craft during her preparations for service.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 29, 1862, p. 4

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