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November 20, 1890




Building of a New Navy.

[From New Orleans Picayune, January 21]

It is gratifying to observe that the question of the restoration of the Naval establishment of this country has been placed beyond all party politics, and is being set about with an earnestness by both the executive and legislative branches of the Government that assures the people that within a few years they will possess a Navy worthy of the name and be able to cope with the fleets of the most powerful of the maritime nations.

If a really efficient Navy is desired, it will not be sufficient to go on, as we have of late years, building a few ships of the smaller types every year. A radical change of policy is needed, and the inauguration of Navy building on a much more extended scale must be promptly agreed to by Congress to achieve the best results.

The True Naval Policy.

[From The Philadelphia Press, January 30]

With a general desire on the part of members of both political parties to make liberal appropriations for the increase of the Navy there are still some important questions to be settled, as to the form in which such sums shall be distributed, the types of vessels it is best to construct, the proportions which we should aim ultimately to attain in our naval force, and the general policy to be adopted by present legislative enactment as a sign-post for all our future efforts in this direction.

The question as to the proper type of vessel to construct is an exceedingly complex one and not easily decided. The weight of argument, professional experience, the example of others, and a careful study of all the conditions under which a navy is maintained and the time required for its full development, point to the armored battle-ship as the vessel we most need, and without which we would really have no effective Navy at all. A navy is built to fight, and the fighting is done by battle-ships. A few still favor and advocate the old monitor type, but the men who are to do the fighting are pretty generally opposed to this class of ships for anything except harbor defence and smoothwater contests. The low free-board of the monitor, while it makes it a comparatively small target, brings its guns too near the water. As the sea is never still, even the ground-swell or slight sea-roll prevents accurate aim and renders the chance of wasting ammunition by firing into the sea much greater, than in any other type of vessel. To fight a monitor in a seaway is an impossibility, and a battle-ship must be able to meet and engage the enemy anywhere. Taking the high free-board, barbette battle-ship as the best type there are still many questions here to be determined, viz., coal endurance, speed, thickness and extent of armor, nature of armament, etc., which experts and experience alone can settle.

What we must do is to take best results in case of war, and, always bearing in mind the requirements or specific purpose for which the ship is built, conform her plans to that one object. That is to say, a cruiser must not be expected to do the work of a battle-ship, nor a battle-ship be regarded as a coast defence vessel ; nor a sea-going torpedo boat expected to act as a cruiser. A nation so great and so rich as ours cannot always be an on-looker. It has responsibilities which it must meet, duties which it must discharge; and in taking its rightful position among the nations of the world, protecting its citizens and maintaining its rights, the question of expense must be a secondary one.

The backbone of a fighting force is the battle-ship, of which as yet we have not one. The true policy then would be to authorize the construction now of a number of these ships-not one of which could probably be finished, armed, and equipped in less than four years from the time the keel was laid.

On the whole, Senator Hales bill for eight battle-ships, two coast-defence vessels, two gunboats, and five torpedo-boats appears to be an inauguration of the policy we need, and which, if carried into effect, will give us a Navy that will inspire confidence at home and respect abroad.

Needs of the New Navy.

[From the New York Tribune, February 2.]

The report of the so-called "Naval Policy Board" has been transmitted to the Senate. In his letter forwarding the report, Secretary Tracy expressly disclaims any adoption of its views. Neither have they been adopted by the Senate Committee. They represent, therefore, the individual opinion of certain officers, and nothing more. The large scheme of Naval development which the Board proposes falls by its own weight. Nobody else subscribes to it, and the Hale bill, now before the Senate, must be considered entirely apart from it. The main feature of the Hale bill is its provision for eight battle-ships. The essence of the bill is, in the opinion of its friends, found in the principle that, if the country is to have any Navy at all, it must have a Navy that will be of some use for purposes of protection. If the Navy is not to afford protection, if it is not capable of any substantial action as a defensive force, it is, they think, a mere superfluity, and had better be abolished. Its usefulness to the United States consists solely, in their opinion, in its ability to defend the country from actual attack, or to ward off a threatened attack. In order to fulfill its object, it must be possessed of some actual fighting capacity. As Secretary Tracy said in his annual report: "The country needs a Navy that will exempt it from war, but the only Navy that will accomplish this is a Navy that can wage war."

The force of forty-two vessels of which the Navy will be composed when those now authorized are completed has little of this fighting capacity. Of this force, eight vessels are small iron gunboats, that will be left over from the old fleet, the largest of which is the Monocacy, of 1,370 tons, and the smallest the Palos, of 420. Eight others are new gunboats, three of them of 1,700 tons and five of less than 1,000, and one is a small despatch boat. Seventeen of the forty-two may therefore be set down as not fighting ships at all. They have certain uses, but it is nonsense to talk of. them as a fighting force.

There remain fourteen cruisers, eight harbor-defence vessels, and three seagoing armor-clads, which last may be classed as small battle-ships. Of these, the cruisers, efficient and indispensable as they are for their legitimate purpose in war, cannot properly be regarded as the foundation of a real naval force. They are commerce-takers and commerce-protectors, and they are the fast scouts for an armored force; but they are nothing more. The harbor-defence vessels, nearly all of which are monitors, are absolutely incapable of fighting at sea.

They are really floating batteries, without the speed or coal endurance required in any except local operations, and their guns are placed so low that it would be virtually impossible to use them in a sea-way. Their place must be in harbors which they are stationed to defend, where they have enclosed waters, and where their light draught will be of advantage. In the French debates of 1870, Dupuy De Lome, one of the foremost naval architects of the day, said: I The American is essentially a local Navy, constructed to meet the exigencies of the war of secession. . The monitors are not battle-ships-for ocean service."

Now, what is this .battle-ship, the construction of which is proposed at the present time? It is simply a vessel having the combination of armor, armament, speed, and coal endurance in a sufficient degree to enable her to be used at sea. She must also be sufficiently high out of water to give her guns a fairly commanding position. This combination cannot be effected in a pure monitor, with a low free-board; nor can it be attained in any vessel of 3,000 or 4,000 tons. It is a mechanical impossibility. If the size is reduced, the armor must be cut down, or the armament, or the machinery, or the coal-in other words, the defensive force, the offensive force, the speed, or the endurance. In fact, in a 4,000-ton vessel; it would be necessary to reduce nearly all of them. Even the Maine and the Texas, of about 6,500 tons, involved some sacrifice in one or more of these points; yet these two, with the projected Moo-ton vessel, are all that we have to which the name of battle-ship can be applied.

But why; it will be asked, does the United States need a Navy that will fight at sea? Why is not the local Navy sufficient? Simply because it will afford no protection worth speaking of to a seacoast, or, rather, to two separate seacoasts, aggregating 13,000 miles in extent. If we ever have an attack at all -- and, it may be repeated, if we are not in danger of attack, we do not want any Navy whatever-it will bean attack of battle-ships. It will be a raid, or a series of raids, accompanied, perhaps, by blockades, upon our seaports. If the aggressor has a supply station not far off, he will use that as a base; if he has not, he will capture and hold one at some outlying point. To meet him with any hope of success we must meet him at sea, and we must be able to destroy his base.

In any case, we must drive away his blockading battle-ships. None of these essential acts of defence could be performed by a fleet of monitors. A battleship could steam all around them at leisure. If they have the armor and armament essential for harbor defenders, they cannot at the same time have the speed to escape from, or to overtake, an enemy, or the coal necessary to make a cruise. Before they had gone far their fuel would be exhausted. They would be useful, certainly, in the defence of a given point; but to rely on a purely local Naval defence with so many points open to attack, would require a multiplication of vessels, and, hence, an extravagant outlay.

A far more effective result could be accomplished by a smaller fleet of battleships, the mobility of which would enable them to act at any point. The minority report upon the Hale bill states that the time has not arrived for the United States to build 11 unwieldy broadside armored vessels, which, with European nations, are experiments of at least doubtful value," and it advocates the building of harbor defenders, small cruisers of 3,000 tons or less, and gunboats, as a proper step at the present time in the progress of construction. As the present authorized force, including survivals from the old fleet, includes eight harbor defenders, fourteen cruisers, of which one-half are 3,000 tons or less, seventeen gunboats, and only three small battle-ships, it would seem desirable, if anything like proportion is to be attained, to increase the battle-ships, as the force in which we are deficient. Battle-ships are the only vessels that really offer any certain protection for a long line of coast; and a new fleet of even fifty vessels, including monitors, small cruisers, and gunboats, would not be regarded by possible aggressors with half as much respect as the eight battle-ships now proposed. Every one who has given attention to the recent development of naval construction in Europe knows this.

About the type of these vessels one word may be said: They are not 1 broadside battle-ships," and they are not 11 unwieldy." The battle-ship of to-day is a turret-ship. It embodies the good points of the monitor, without the monitor's defects. As to the unwieldiness of battle-ships, it may be said that the vessels of the kind proposed in the bill are not unwieldy. They are from 7,500 to 10,000 tons. They will have a speed of seventeen knots; and when they are placed beside the Miantonomoh, whose actual speed is ten and one-half knots, or even a large monitor like the Puritan, whose estimated maximum is 13, it would be a rash man who preferred to be stationed on the monitor because the latter would be less unwieldy in action.

The time is peculiarly propitious for constructing battle-ships. Out- first ship-building experiments have proved a triumphant success, and have left no question as to the ability of our designers and the skill of our workmen. The manufacture of armor and gun-steel has been domesticated in the United States; and we can now, for the first time, build and arm an American battle-ship, using exclusively American labor and American materials. Finally, the type of armored battle-ship abroad, of the uncertain character of which so much has been said, has emerged from the experimental state in which it was when Mr.


Chandler was Secretary, and has been adopted in its general features with absolute unanimity of opinion, to such an extent that the four principal ship-building powers of Europe-England, France, Italy, and Russia-are building to-day what may be described fairly as copies of one and the same ship, differing in minor details, but in all essential points identical.

If, then, we are ever to have a navy that can fight; if our officers and men are ever to be practised with a force such as is used in modern war, now is the time to build it. It will take five years to construct the ships now proposed, and it is obvious that no mere possibility of constructing a Navy in five years will ever answer for an emergency. War, or aggression that approaches war, may not come entirely without warning, but the warning is never five years, or even two years, in advance. Small cruisers and gunboats might be built in this time, but certainly not battle-ships.

Upon the question what the United States needs, no better authority can be quoted than Mr. Chandler himself, who thus stated it in his annual report for 1883: In order to be prepared, not merely by the potentiality of our immense resources, but also by an actual armament, to assert at all times our natural, justifiable, and necessary ascendancy in the affairs of the American hemisphere, we unquestionably need vessels in such numbers as fully to keep alive the knowledge of war, and of such a kind that it shall be a knowledge of modern war; capable; on brief notice, of being expanded into invincible squadrons."

It will be for Mr. Chandler to show, when the bill is put upon its passage, how this result can be accomplished by an addition to our present fleet of monitors, small cruisers, and gunboats.

Senator Chandler's Objections to Battle-Ships.

[From New York Tribune, February 2.]

The crowning argument of the Minority Report against battle-ships, as experimental vessels, is set forth in the form of four questions, as follows

1. "Is it conceded that we have attained to perfect designs for hulls, either under water or above water?"

2. "Is the armor of the future to be compound armor, steel-faced, and ironbacked, as in the past? Or has steel armor been devised and fabricated which will supersede compound armor?-- a most difficult, doubtful, and expensive question, yet to be solved."

3. "Are triple expansion engines, worked by steam, the limit of improvement in Naval propulsion? All engines made seven years ago are obselete now. Has the faculty of our engineers for improvement in motive power been worked out?"

4. "Is the built-up steel gun now being made a perfect instrument of destruction, so that it is not to be superseded within five, ten, or fifteen years?""

To these four questions, whether a finality has been reached in hulls, in armor, in engines, and in ordnance, every tyro in Naval science, or, indeed, in mechanical science of any description, would unhesitatingly answer: "No; of course not." And it may safely be demurred, If not, what of it?" The fact that nothing in mechanical appliances can be deemed final to-day is a truism. The negative answer to the questions in the report again-proves too much. If it is conclusive against building battle-ships, it is conclusive against building any type of armored ship, even a low free-board monitor, which cannot fight her guns at sea; and, in three out of four of the elements referred to, namely, hulls, engines, and' ordnance, it is conclusive against building any ship whatever.

If there were any substance in such an argument, it would have deterred Senator Chandler, when he was Secretary of the Navy, from building the Chicago, Boston, and Atlanta, because a better engine than theirs might sometime he devised, giving cruisers a higher speed, as turned out to be actually the case when the triple expansion engine was adopted, three years later. Yet no one, and least of all the ex-Secretary himself, can regret that he built those admirable cruisers which now form the European squadron-admirable in spite of, and in presence of, the fact that we would use triple expansion engines to-day if we were building them anew.

There is no limit to the march of mechanical improvement; and if that prevents us from building, we shall never have a Navy. There is no more permanence about the hull and engines of a small gunboat, or the guns and armor of a monitor, than about the hull, engines, guns, and armor of a battle-ship; the only difference lies in the fact that battle-ships, for purposes of defence, have a value, as compared with the other ships, ten-fold or even twenty-fold greater than is indicated by their comparative cost.

Monitors and Battle-Ships.

[From New York World, March 10.]

It is proposed by the dissenting minority of the Senate Naval Committee, led by Senator Chandler, that the- United States shall have no sea-going fighting ships, but that the money appropriated for the increase of the Navy at this session of Congress shall be devoted to the building of monitors.

This is a most alarming proposition. The country has already had a sufficient experience in expenditures upon this obsolete type of vessel. The Navy Department during the civil war pinned its faith to this type. Immense sums of money, probably amounting to more than a hundred millions, were spent upon them, and they have never been of any use since that day. Twenty of these monitors were built, which not only never got to sea but which, when they were completed, were found to be unable to carry their guns and coal. They did not have the small margin of reserve buoyancy which was possessed by the other monitors-they started under water.

There is no doubt that the larger monitors proved to be of great use during the war in still-water fighting in inclosed harbors. They had the true arrangement of the battery in turrets giving an all-round fire, and they were the only ships at that time which had this arrangement. Their armor was impenetrable to the guns of the period. Hence their apparent advantages over other contemporary types.

To spend a considerable sum of money at this day in building these vessels, and expect them to meet the attack of modern guns on such a small margin of buoyancy, would be an act of the greatest folly. Yet this is what the advocates of monitors now propose. It has always been the policy of the United States to build vessels of war which shall be the best of their class. Yet it is now urged, and urged by an Ex-Secretary of the Navy, that we shall commit our selves to a type which cannot fight its guns at sea and which will inevitably

sink if it receives one-fourth the injury which can be safely undergone by its high-sided opponent. Such a policy is a little less than suicidal.

The monitor, ship for ship, costs less than the battle-ship; but of what use is it when we have acquired it? The battle-ship is the-final outcome of years of experiment. It embodies the best features of the monitor, but it combines with them that which the monitor lacked, the ability to fight its guns at sea, and an ample margin of safety in action. Our recent Naval development, which Mr. Chandler himself began, has hitherto been in the highest degree successful, and the ships we have built are models of what such ships should be. Let us beware of making a backward step, and, from the mistaken desire to obtain a cheap article, building a ship which all the world recognizes as obsolete.

The Proposed Battle-Ships-An Answer to Objections.

[From the New York Herald, February 14.]

In opposition to Secretary Tracy's plan, embodied in the Hale bill, proposing the construction of eight battle-ships of from 7,500 to 10,000 tons, the report of the minority, signed by Mr. Chandler, enunciates four propositions-

First. The United States ought not to build armored broadside battle-ships.

Second. The proposed battle-ships may become obsolete before completion.

Third. The proposed battle-ships are not suitable coast-defence vessels; monitors are preferable.

Fourth. Forty-six millions now for battle-ships will take money away from fortifications and harbor defence.

As to the first proposition, that the United States ought not to build broadside battle-ships, it is enough to say that no one at the present day proposes to build "a broadside battle-ship." Broadside battle-ships are things of the past. They were the first experiment in armored vessels, in which the builders took the type of ship then existing-namely, the old broadside frigate or ship-of-the line-and covered her sides with armor. The success of the monitor in 1862 put an end to this type.


The new method of distributing the armor and the guns in turrets, instead of on the side of the ships, took some time to make its way into general use, but it has finally become firmly established. During the twenty years from 1870 to 1890 many experiments have been tried and ships have been built showing every variety in the distribution of guns and armor. But the one type that has not been used, and that nobody has thought of adopting during this period, is the broadside battle-ship of the earliest period of experiment. In many ships the continuous belt of armor has been used to protect the side near the water-line, and it has been combined with casemates, turrets, small armored towers, barbettes, citadels, or whatnot, which have contained the guns.

Since the adoption of the protective deck even the continuous armored belt on the side has to a great extent disappeared. If a broadside battle-ship means anything to-day it means a ship which mounts and fights her guns in broadside, in distinction from one which mounts them so that they can be fired ahead or astern. No such battle-ships have been built for twenty years.


The development of the modern battle-ship is an interesting study. The year 1863, following the battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac, showed the prevalence of turrets everywhere. Soon other experiments were adopted. The English in a number of cases tried a central casemate, with ports so arranged as to give a fore and aft fire. The French adopted an arrangement of small towers which placed the guns in isolated positions, one forward, one aft, and one on each side like the corners of a lozenge. This, however, did not give complete

satisfaction, as it was found that turrets at the ends interfered materially with the fire of the central turrets ahead and astern. Then the plan was adopted of placing two turrets close together in the central part of the ship diagonally opposite to each other and surrounding them by an armored breastwork or redoubt. These were the so-called central citadel ships, of which the Inflexible is the type. Unarmored superstructures which could be riddled without injury to the ship, were placed at the ends and were so cut away that the guns of one turret could be fired past the superstructures when the guns were fired directly forward or directly aft. The difficulty with this type was found to be that the superstructure restricted the radius of the fire of the guns, and if the shot passed close to it it was liable to be injured.


Within recent years the question of arrangement has been somewhat modified by the necessity of mounting the so-called secondary batteries, which to-day are composed of rapid-fire guns, throwing shot at the rate of ten a minute. In the central citadel ships the guns of the secondary battery were mounted in the superstructure, but it was found impossible to use them when the great guns in the citadel were fired directly forward or directly aft. The problem, therefore, in the last ten years has been so to place the heavy guns that they will have a fire directly ahead, astern, and on both sides, and that the secondary battery may be placed in some convenient position, where the fire of the great guns will not interfere with it.

This problem has now been accomplished. The turrets, no longer placed in a central citadel, have been drawn apart. They are so constructed that they have a clear fire, unimpeded by any superstructure, directly ahead or astern, and on both sides. In the space left vacant between the turrets the secondary battery has been placed, protected as far as possible by light armor. The turrets and the space between them near the water-line have been enclosed by heavy armor, within which are the engines and all the vital parts of the ship.

The free-board-no longer excessive, as in the case of some of the earlier ships where it reached twenty-three and even twenty-seven feet-is made only so high as to enable the vessel to push her way through the sea without taking on board an immense quantity of water, and to give the guns a commanding position, sc that they can be fought in all weathers.


This is the type of battle-ship to-day, and it may be said to be the universal type. England, France, Italy, Germany, and Russia are all building battleships, and the battle-ships they are building are so nearly identical that they may be said to be the same ship. This ship is certainly not the monitor, because the monitor had among its distinguishing features a very low free-board not more than two or three feet above the water-line-but they are certainly nor broadside ships, for the distribution of their armor, and their main battery is on the turret principle pure and simple. The position of these turrets and the alb round fire which this position gives them are characteristic of the monitor, and they are equally characteristic of the battle-ship of to-day.


The Chandler report speaks for a "well proportioned navy," and ostensibly on this ground it advocates the building of three classes of vessels-namely harbor-defence vessels, moderate sized cruisers, and gunboats.

On this question of proportion an answer can only he arrived at by showing of what the present force consists. Dropping out the wooden-vessels, some thirty in number, which will pass out of existence in a short time, the fleet a; now authorized consists of forty-two vessels. Of these forty-two seventeen are gunboats, seven are cruisers of 3,000 tons or less, and eight are harbor-defence ships, mostly monitors, making thirty-two out of forty-two which belonged to the classes in which Senator Chandler advises an increase, and only seven large cruisers and three small battle-ships-or ten vessels-in the class in which he condemns an increase. If, therefore, we are to have any assortment of ships, what we need now is that type in which we are weakest-namely, the battleship.


Secondly, the minority report argues that if any comprehensive plan is adopted the last ships to be built should he line-of-battle ships, and the first should be the small cruisers and gunboats. But if a difficulty compelled the United States to use its naval force some warning of the fact would be given, and if this warning came a year or two in advance we could possibly supply our necessities in the matter of gunboats. The gunboats in use during the rebellion, as is well known, were completed in ninety days from the date of contract; but no battle-ship was ever built in ninety days or even in ten times ninety days. With our present facilities the construction of these vessels will certainly take five years. Is it well to postpone to a time of emergency that very type which, by no possibility can be built in an emergency, and undertake to build to-day the only types which can be furnished as the occasion arises to use them?


The second proposition of the minority report is that the proposed battle-ship may become obsolete before completion. There is no doubt that the battle-ship, like every other mechanical device of the present day, including other types of ships, may and will be improved with the growth and development of mechanical science; but to say that these improvements render the old constructions obsolete is incorrect.

The minority report asks whether we have attained perfect designs for hulls; whether the armor of the future is to be compound armor or steel armor; whether triple expansion engines are the limit of improvements in naval propulsion; whether the present gun is a perfect instrument of destruction.

Why Senator Chandler asks these questions at the very moment when he is proposing to build monitors, small cruisers, and gunboats does not appear. They are just as much an argument against building these types as against building the type which Mr. Chandler opposes. The only difference is that in building monitors instead of battle-ships (that is, monitors in their pure, original form, with low free-board) he is advocating the type which is actually obsolete for all purposes of ocean warfare to-day-a very good vessel to be used as a floating battery in the defence of harbors, no doubt, but not to be counted as a sea-going, sea-fighting ship.


In fact, not satisfied that the inference might be drawn from his questions relating to designs, armor, engines, and guns that his objection applies as well to the monitor which he advocates as to the battle-ships which he opposes, he curiously enough brings forward the typical old monitor Puritan as his main illustration of the ephemeral character of ships, a model of which he ordered a reconstruction in 188a upon certain plans, which plans have subsequently undergone considerable improvement. His argument is: As these plans have been improved, therefore the old design must be obsolete; as the old design must be obsolete, there is no permanence in the types; as there is no permanence in types, we should not build battle-ships. But, in the same breath, he says we should build monitors. The very instance which the report offers of obsolescence is the monitor, and the Senator's recommendation is absolutely defeated by his illustration.


The only instances of battle-ships becoming obsolete, which the report quotes, are those of the Maine and the Texas, of which it is said that the Navy Department would not think to: day of completing either of them if they had not been already commenced. The report goes on to say that the Maine has neither the speed of a cruiser nor the fighting and resisting farce of a battle-ship, and the Texas has heavier armor, but not sufficient speed:

The real fact about the Maine and the Texas is not that their designs are obsolete, but that they are too small to come into the class of battle-ships at all. They are, in fact, an attempt to make a cheap battle-ship-an attempt that must necessarily result in getting a vessel that fails to possess some of the essential requirements of that type. The essential fault of these two vessels is in their size.


The third proposition in the report is that the proposed battle-ships are not suitable coast-defence vessels, and that the monitors are preferable.

Now, the battle-ship is simply a type of vessel which has heavy armor, heavy guns, considerable speed, and great coal endurance. The last will enable her to carry out an extended operation. It is also necessary that she should -have her guns placed high enough to make use of them at sea. The monitor, on the other hand, though it has equally heavy armor and guns, lacks speed and coal endurance, and by reason of its low free-board is absolutely incapable of fighting its guns in a seaway.

Which of these two classes of vessels will be most useful in the defence of the United States? Here is a coast line composed of two detached portions, absolutely cut off from each other, and necessarily independent bases of operation, which aggregate about twelve thousand miles. Upon this coast are a great number of populous cities, any one of which au enemy might choose as an object of his attack. The country is separated from Europe by an ocean three thousand miles wide, across which assailants must pass.


If they had no base of operation except in their own country on the other side of the ocean they would find great difficulty in maintaining a naval attack; but many of them have supply stations over here in the neighborhood of our coast, which are amply sufficient for their purposes. Those that have not such stations can readily take possession of outlying islands off the coast, where they can deposit a coal supply, and where they can be secure from attack by any fleet which we have at present. With such a base of operation there is no reason why they should not continue a war indefinitely. There is certainly no reason why they should not continue it until they have gutted every city on the coast, or until they have carried on a blockade for so long a period as to destroy the commerce of our principal cities. This is what we have to prevent.

The advocates of harbor defenders propose that we shall prevent it by completing a number of low, free-board monitors, which shall have heavy guns and heavy armor, but which will necessarily be without speed, without coal endurance, and unable to fight their guns in a seaway. In order to afford any protection by means of these vessels it will be necessary to have a fleet of them it every port.


Should an enemy's force descend upon the coast it would be impossible to assemble them within any reasonable time, and if they were assembled and sent to sea a very few days' maneuvering would find them with bunkers empty and

fires extinguished-absolutely without motive power. As far as breaking up I blockade was concerned or destroying an enemy's supply station, if the blockade was maintained or the station supported by battle-ships, they would be absolutely powerless. In order to make them, even in the localities which they were intended to guard, the equivalent of a fleet of battle-ships as a defensive force, the: would have to be treble the number of the latter.

In a seaway they could neither run away-for their already limited speed would be knocked down by a heavy sea-nor fight, for the waters would be rushing over their decks and turrets; nor remain in the neighborhood to conduct a protracted operation, because their coal would shortly give out.


The report complains of the policy of building battle-ships as neglecting and slighting lines of defence by land and water, and sallying forth to protect our coast and harbors by finding and destroying the enemy's fleets."

Before the war of 1812 an attempt way made to protect the harbors of the country by building gunboats, but prior to that time a few seagoing ships, the best of their kind, had been constructed, and when the war broke out it was found that the harbor defenders were absolutely useless and had to be sold, while the seagoing ships that sallied forth to find and destroy the enemy accomplished more than almost any ether naval force in the world has accomplished to sustain the credit and reputation of its country.

Finally, the fourth proposition is that the $46,000,000 now appropriated for battle-ships will take away money needed for fortifications and harbor defence. The question whether the United States need battle-ships or not is not connected with the subject of fortifications.


It is well known that no forts can be built that will stop the passage of an enemy of themselves. As to the relative merits of harbor defence and battleships in preventing war, it may safely be said that a fleet of eight' battle-ships will be regarded by Europe as a more substantial element in the protection of the United States than three times the number of monitors. How far the other states of the world regard the pure, low free-board monitor as an efficient ship is absolutely demonstrated by the fact that they never build them, and they are disposed quite as much as we are in the United States to make their money go a long way. As a real, tangible, and evident element of strength by which foreign states will be deterred from aggression, the battle-ships will count for their full value, while monitors, small cruisers, and gunboats, useful though they may be for specific purposes, will not count at all.

Evolution of the Battle-Ship.

[From New York Times, February 16.]

In the case of both turret and broadside ships the designs best adapted to secure safety and efficiency have now been decided upon. The barbette ship in turn is but a modification of the turret vessel, its object being to get the guns high above the sea and with power to deliver a nearly-all-round fire. In the case of the barbette designs it was found that the guns could be mounted higher up than in turrets. The barbette type of ship is seen in the [English] Admiral class (vessels named after Admirals), and it appears to be the adopted system of to-day. In these Admiral ships are combined high speed, great coal endurance, heavy armament, protection of men, protection of magazines and machinery,

buoyancy and stability, armor not penetrable by the heaviest guns, defence against torpedoes, absolute seaworthiness, ready obedience to the helm, and a moderate draught of water, all of which are essentials in an efficient war-ship.

The development in the British Navy illustrates the development in the naval world. France and Russia present some novel designs in naval architecture, but the underlying principles are the same as those shown in the modern British battle-ships.

All naval powers have at the same time developed the cruiser type, under which head belong such ships as compose the American squadron of evolution. In developing this cruiser class naval constructors have never had in mind their standing fire before a battle-ship. A naval force can be compared to an army made up of cavalry, infantry, and artillery. The fast, light cruisers correspond to the cavalry. These vessels act as scouts, cruise close in on the position of an enemy, cut off his lines of communication, and prey upon his commerce. But the infantry and artillery, the main fighting factors of the army, are represented by the armored battle-ships. The cruisers may serve to hover upon an enemy's flank, but they are not adaptable to forcing an entrance into a defended port or in engaging iron-clads.

Cruisers are essential to all naval forces, but against war-ships other than cruisers their fighting function appears to be nil. It has been argued that the battle-ships called for by Secretary Tracy will be too large, that they will draw too much water, and hence will not be adapted for harbor defence. The 10,000 ton ships called for will draw over twenty-five F twenty-four] feet of water, but this is of no consequence, since the place for battle-ships to take station in keeping off an enemy is not in port, but well off the coast. If for no other reason than because called to do duty on the coast, seamen argue that the battle-ships should have plenty of free-board, for it is well known to all seafaring men that the waves close in on the American coast are far higher than they are well off shore. The opinion of well-informed naval experts is in favor of using for a prototype a vessel embodying plenty of free-board and sufficient displacement to permit of the carrying of a heavy battery.

So long as this country continues to build only cruisers no defence is assured the cities dotting its 13,000 miles of coast. With a few strong battle-ships at hand, the cruisers can prey against commerce and harass the enemy in every possible manner, conscious at least that the home ports are protected against any and all descents of attacking squadrons.

The New Navy Bill.

[From New York World, February 14.]

Mr. Chandler proposes to move an amendment to the Hale bill substituting monitors for battle-ships. The important feature in the bill for the increase of the navy, now pending before the Senate, consists of a provision for eight battleships. So far only three vessels of this description have been authorized by Congress, and these are of small size. Nevertheless, a navy that has no battleships cannot be considered as really a fighting force. It is like an army without infantry; that is to say, without the essential substance of which an army should be composed. The four qualities that a naval vessel must seek to unite in herself are offensive force, defensive force, speed, and endurance; the last meaning a sufficient coal supply to enable her to keep at sea for a reasonable

period. All ships are, to a certain extent, a compromise.

The battle-ship that kind of is war vessel which unites all these qualities in the highest possible degree. She has heavy guns for offensive force, heavy armor for defence, powerful engines to give her speed in maneuvering and in reaching a threatened point, and a large supply of coal to enable her to keep up her operations for a reasonable time without exhausting her supply of fuel.

The problem of naval development .in the United States, in respect to the force which this country should construct and maintain, has been nowhere better stated than by Secretary Whitney in his annual report for 1885, in these memorable words : " This country can afford to have, and it cannot afford to lack, a naval force at least so formidable that its dealings with foreign powers will not be influenced at any time, or even he suspected of being influenced, by a consciousness of weakness on the sea." In order to hold this position it is not necessary that we should enter upon any such wild and extravagant schemes as those proposed by the Naval Policy Board, involving the construction of some sixty-five armored ships alone, nor do we understand that the Department or the Senate Naval Committee advocates any such project. But to carry out this policy we do need one thing, and that is a moderate force of battle-ships.

Senator Chandler, in his minority report opposing the construction of the battle-ships, objects to them on the ground that monitors are preferable to broadside ships. Now, it cannot be supposed by any one familiar with the subject that any advocates of battle-ships intend that they should be broadside ships. No one, either in Europe or in America, has thought of building a broadside battle-ship for twenty years or more, and the Navy Department has certainly never stated that it contemplates a return to this antiquated type. The fact is that when the monitors were first built the type of vessel with which they had to contend in professional and public estimation was the broadside ship-the only iron-clad known up to that time. The controversy of that period, therefore, was between monitors and broadside vessels, and in all the arguments written in support of one system or the other this appears to be the whole substance of the discussion.

The opponents of battle-ships to-day are making use of these old arguments of Captain Fox and the Navy Department during the war-arguments which only go to show that an arrangement of guns in turrets, giving an all-around fire, is better than the arrangement on the decks, where the guns can only be pointed through ports in the sides of the ship.

Finally, the ex-Secretary comes to the conclusion that we have not reached the final stage in hulls, armor, engines, or guns, and that therefore we should not build battle-ships at all. Everybody will doubtless agree with him that the world will go on making improvements in ship-building devices; but if that is to prevent building battle-ships why should it not prevent building any kind of ships?

Secretary Tracy's Plan:

[From New York Herald, February 14]

There is a curious confusion in the public mind about the plan for a new Navy urged by Secretary Tracy and the very different plan proposed by the so called "Policy Board." It seems to be a general impression that the two agree. The fact is they totally disagree, and it is important that this should be understood. The Policy Board proposed an enormous Navy of the European type.That public opinion rightly and at once condemned. They proposed, among other things, forty-two battle-ships. Secretary Tracy proposes as an eventual force in his report seventeen battle-ships, of which the construction of only eight shall be authorized at once.

The Secretary has based himself upon the ground that we ought to have at at all times as strong and numerous a Navy as we had in 1860. No one who approves of a Navy at all will dispute that proposition. In 1860 we had a few of the best ships in the world, and a total of about 100 vessels of all classes. It will scarcely be called extravagant to say that we ought to have as many here after. We have now forty-two ships built or authorized-namely, twenty-three new unarmored vessels, eight small iron vessels of the old Navy, which will probably continue in service; eight coast or harbor defenders and three battle ships. -

The Secretary holds that we ought next to begin the construction of eight powerful battle-ships. That will go only apart of the way to putting us where we stood in 1860. He believes that while it was well enough to begin the experiment of naval reconstruction with unarmored cruisers, and to complete the monitors already started, the time has come to replace the few first-class ships we had in 1860

Everything is now ready for the building of such battle-ships. After twenty years of varied experiment all the states of Europe have settled down on what is practically a single type. The battle-ships now building by the principal powers differ in slight details, but they are practically identical in all important features-a thing never known before. For the first time also the steel industry and -the shipbuilders in the United States are ready to undertake the work, and American battle-ships can be built of American materials by American labor. The experiment of building steel war-ships in this country has been tried with the cruiser types, and has proved a phenomenal success. There is no doubt that the battle-ships will he equally successful.

The country cannot get along with a Navy of cruisers and harbor defenders only. It never did.

To talk about building monitors or vessels of three or four thousand tong as the main reliance of the United States at the present day is folly. We have been floundering in that quicksand long enough. Fifty monitors would not equal in defensive strength a force of twenty battle-ships.

The recognized type of battle-ship to-day preserves and embodies all the best features of Ericsson's invention, without the latter's defects. It is a turret ship, not a "broadside iron-clad," as the advocates of monitors would have us believe, in their ignorance of the fact that the broadside iron-clad was years ago discarded. The heavy guns in its turrets, like those of the monitor, have a clear fire ahead and astern and on both sides; but whereas the monitor's guns were placed so low that the sea washed over the ports, the guns of the battleship can be fought in any sea. The low speed and small coal endurance of the monitor absolutely preclude her from effective cruising; she could neither overtake nor get away from an enemy, and if she started on a cruise of any length her coal would give out long before she got home. As a floating battery in the harbor the monitor will have her uses. But what our new Navy needs to bring it tip to the old standard is a small fleet of real battle-ships.

The Navy's Need.-Great Battle-Ships for Coast Defenders in

stead of Low Free-Board Monitors.

[From New York World, March l0.]

The amendments proposed by Senators Chandler and McPherson to the Naval bill now before the Senate show the extreme danger of undertaking by legislation to fix the details of a structure as technical and as complex as the modern ship-of-war. If these eight vessels are decided upon, it is safe to say that the Navy will have gone back twenty-five years in its policy of construction, and $20,000,000 will be spent by the Government for a type of ship that is neither useful nor safe. By the introduction of these amendments the opponents of the Hale bill concede the necessity of building armored ships, but they insist upon building them of a type that is inefficient and obsolete.

The eight vessels proposed in the Chandler amendment have certain prescribed qualities, viz:

I. Low free-board.

2. Armored with steel or compound armor.

3. Not more than seventeen feet draft.

4. Twin screws.

5. Sea speed of seventeen knots.

6. Four l0-inch or 11-inch guns in turrets or barbettes, with all-round fire.

7. Batteries of rapid-firing gnus on deck between towers.

8. Cost, including armament, $2,500,000.

There is no specification as to coal endurance or displacement, although the cost suggested would indicate a displacement of not more than 5,000 tons. The eight vessels proposed by Senator McPherson are substantially the same, except that they have 18 feet draft, 12-inch guns, and a 15-inch dynamite gun.

Of the above-described conditions some are unnecessary, some are a positive disadvantage, and some will stand in the way of more important objects. As a combination they make a ship that would be neither a satisfactory harbor defender nor a ship capable of operating at sea, while in action she would be in the highest degree vulnerable.

The following shows roughly what can be done on a basis of 5,000 tons:



Weight of hull 1,700

Weight of machinery (of over 9,000 horse-power) 850

Battery, its protection and ammunition 800

Coal for 400 miles at full speed 200

Equipment, anchors, chains, water, provisions, stores 125

Armor deck about 2 8/4 inches 625

Side armor (complete belt), average of 10 -11 inches; 700

(3 feet above water, 4 feet below)

Total 5,000

Estimates may vary as to weight of hull, which some experts would place from one to two hundred tons higher, and as to weight of machinery, which some would place fifty to one hundred tons lower on the basis of a reduced horse-power.

Ton s.



The first objection to these ships is their small defensive power. The belt must be continuous, extending around the stem, for a slight amount of damage forward to a vessel of the low free-board type would necessarily be fatal. This belt cannot be heavier than 11 inches. Eleven inches can barely withstand the 6-inch gun, the smallest armor-piercing gun afloat, and there is no armored vessel built within the last ten years or now contemplated by any power which does not carry at least two 9-inch guns, and most modern armored ships carry at least four 12-inch guns. Senator McPherson requires that the ships shall be heavily armored with armor-insuring protection against shot or shell. This is simply a mechanical impossibility in the ship as prescribed.

The total weight does not admit of efficient protection to the secondary battery. In the above estimate of weights allowance has been made for z-inch shields. A suitable protection would add a weight of about fifty tons.

The battery proposed is four 10-inch or four 11-inch guns. No 11-inch gnus have yet been built or designed in this country, but that is no reason why such a gun should not be made if it is wanted. The calculation made above is on the basis of 10-inch guns. If 11-inch guns were used they would add eighty tons to the weight, which would have to be taken from something else, or else increase the displacement and hence the cost.

Although in firing at target plates the lo-inch gun shows a high efficiency, it is a recognized fact that under ordinary conditions of fighting its destructive power falls far below the 12-inch. No one to-day would advocate the arming of battle-ships or first-class harbor defenders with less than 12-inch guns. In Senator McPherson's vessel 12-inch guns are prescribed. This would add at least 200 tons to the weight of the battery, &c., without increasing the thickness of turret armor. This weight would necessarily betaken from either the armor or the machinery. These weights would be still further reduced by the addition of the dynamite gun, which weighs 45 tons.

The most serious defect in the proposed ships is their low free-board. The term "low free-board" is not an exact term, but it presumably means a freeboard of three feet or under as distinguished from a free-board of eleven to six teen feet. The free-board of the present reconstructed monitors is two and one half feet. The disadvantages of the low free-board in a seagoing ship are that (1) it reduces sea speed; that (2) it reduces the steadiness of the ship as a gun platform; that (3) in a low free-board ship it is impossible to fight the guns in a seaway, and that (4) it increases the vulnerability of the ship in action.


The free-board being only three feet or less, the sea necessarily comes right on the deck. In any ordinary seaway, going head to sea, there would be from four to eight feet of water on the deck most of the time. This weight of eater is carried by the vessel for the time being; it adds to her displacement, tends to bury her head in the water, and must reduce her speed. This disadvantage is obviated by a moderately high free-board. Moreover, the area of surface subject to friction in the low free-board ship, with the deck under water, is much larger than in the high, and the retarding effects of friction must be more seriously felt in proportion.


In order to secure safety at sea, a low free-board ship must be very much broader in proportion to her depth than a high free-board ship. We may take a flat chip as representing the type of the low free-board vessel, and a weighted pole as being the extreme type of the high free-board vessel. It follows that the broad, shallow, low free-board ship follows very closely the motion of the water, and in a seaway her deck will always place itself nearly parallel to the slope of the waves. This quality is essential to the safety of the low free-board type, but fatal to its efficiency as a steady gun platform at sea.

Low free-board advocates cite cases where, when a monitor under convoy of high free-board ships met heavy weather, glasses full of water on the monitor were not spilt, and pendulums recorded rolls of only four or five degrees, while everything movable was flying across the deck of the high-sided consorts, and the pendulums were recording angles of rolls of 25 or 30 degrees. The observed results are true, but they are ascribed to the wrong cause.

The actual inclination of the monitor to the horizontal at the time may easily have been as much as 15 degrees-a common inclination of the sloping surface of waves-yet the water did not spill from the glasses on board for the same reason that the water of the wave did not run bodily down the wave-slope of 75 degrees.

It may be objected that, if the low free-board ship follows the slope of the waves, her roll can never exceed some 20 degrees, which is about the greatest slope of waves of any size, and so she is still a better gun platform than the high free-board ship, which under such circumstances would have a maximum roll of go degrees or more. But the low free-board ships would roll regularly,

wave after wave, never stopping; while for high free-board ships periods of rolling alternate with periods of almost entire rest, as may be observed on any Atlantic passenger steamer. During nearly half the time, then, a high freeboard ship could aim her guns and fire them effectually, while the low freeboard ships would have to trust to chance shots and would be at the mercy of a high free-board enemy.

The whole difference may be summed up in a word. The low ship follows closely the motion of the wave, and hence, there being little jar or shock to those on board, she appears to have no motion, although in fact she is never horizontal any more than a wave is. The high ship interrupts the oscillating wave motion, jarring those on board and giving an apparent effect of want of steadiness, when in reality she is horizontal during a much greater part of the time than the low free-board model.


The preceding applies to moderate weather conditions at sea, where the waves are low and long and regular, but not so high as to come on board the low free-board ship except as spray and broken water. In heavy weather the high free-board ship would probably roll continuously, but she could still fight her guns, and would retain most of her speed, while the low free-board ship would be practically buried in the water, would have lost most of her speed, and could not possibly fight her guns unless the enemy would keep to the leeward. She would then be at the mercy of any high free-board adversary, armored or unarmored.

Mr. Fox, the most ardent advocate of low free-board monitors, says in a letter of June 16, 1866, in reference to the Miantonomoh:

"In the trough of the sea her ports will be liable to be flooded if required to use her guns to windward. This, therefore, would be the position selected by an antagonist who designed to fight a monitor in a seaway."

The difficulty cannot be obviated by raising the position of the guns, because by so doing the stability of the ship will be reduced below the point of safety. Place the heavy weights high up and the sides must also be carried up, otherwise the ship will not right from a heavy roll, but will roll over, as the English monitor Captain did in the Bay of Biscay, when nearly all of the crew were lost. In the case of the Captain the instability was due to weight of top hamper and to pressure on the sails she carried. It is not proposed that these vessels shall carry sail, but the placing of weights at any considerable height from the deck operates in the same way to reduce safety. ,


The sole advantage of a low free-board ship is that at a distance it presents a smaller target for an enemy to aim at, the supposition being that if he has an object only three or four feet high, he will be less likely to get the range of it than if it were eleven or sixteen feet high. The advantage, therefore, lies in a supposed invisibility of the target. At close range the difference is clearly not material. The smaller abject will be large enough to aim at. Even at long range the advantage is so slight that no essential sacrifice should be made in other respects to secure it. Moreover, the advantage due to supposed invisibility, slight as it is, is entirely destroyed by a superstructure between the turrets, which would be necessitated by the secondary battery of rapid-fire guns in the proposed ships.

As to actual vulnerability, apart from the question of invisibility, the low free-board ship has no advantage from her reduced height. The really vulnerable target in both cases consists of the same parts, namely, the water-line region, the guns and their appurtenances. The area of vulnerable parts is not materially greater in the high free-board type than in the low, except in so far as it may be due to the greater size of the ship, her heavier guns, &c. The excess of free-board in the high ship over the low does not represent a vulnerable area. It may be riddled without sinking the ship.

So far from being an advantage on the score of vulnerability, the low freeboard is a positive disadvantage. A TYPICAL LOW FREE-BOARD SHIP WILL HAVE ONLY ABOUT 20 PER CENT. "RESERVE BUOYANCY," which means that if a weight of water equal to 20 per cent., or one-fifth of her weight, be allowed to enter the ship, SHE WILL SINK. A typical high free-board ship has at least 80 per cent. of reserve buoyancy. It follows that if each of two ships-one high free-board, the other low-sustains sufficient damage at the water-line to admit 20 per cent. of her weight of water, the high free-board ship will still have an ample margin of buoyancy, while the low free-board ship will sink. Even if the high free-board type were twice as liable to sustain damage as the low freeboard type-which is not the case-it could stand this double amount of damage and still float, leaving the advantage still with the high free-board:

For purposes of navigation merely, if is conceded that the monitor is safe enough as long as she is kept perfectly tight. But for purposes of battle her small reserve of floating power is an element of the greatest danger. A single shot may send her to the bottom in quick time. This feature of low free-board vessels did not assume great importance during the war, because at that time the monitor's armor could not be pierced by any guns afloat. At the present time she can count on no such immunity, and the injury which would leave her high-sided consort comparatively unhurt will sink her so quickly that most of her crew will go down with her. The original monitor sank at sea from taking on board a small quantity of water. The Weehawken, another monitor, sank at her moorings in Charleston harbor in a moderate gale, from the water she took through the hawse pipes and other small openings. The Patapsco, also a monitor, when struck by a torpedo in Charleston harbor, sank in fifteen seconds, while the Housatonic, a sloop-of-war with free-board of ordinary height, struck by a torpedo a short time previously; had time to lower her boats and get off her people. This difference was beyond a doubt directly due to the difference in reserve buoyancy.

An additional disadvantage of the monitor type, from the point of view of safety, arises from the impracticability of protecting her buoyancy by watertight subdivisions at the end as efficiently as in the high free-board type. In the high vessel a heavy protective deck, nearly shot-proof, is placed at a short distance below the water-line towards the bow and stern. The space above this deck is divided into water-tight compartments as numerous and as small as practicable. When the side is pierced, only a small quantity of water can enter, it being confined by the compartments and stopped by the protective deck.

With the monitor the case is different. With such small free-board her upper deck must be a heavy armored deck for two or three feet above the water-line. The next deck must be at least six feet below this, for it is the berth-deck, upon which the crew must live, and this brings it much further below the water-line than in the high ship. Even if this berth-deck were made water-tight and shellproof, which it is not, its low position would leave a much larger space exposed to the entry of water. Moreover, the compartments themselves are necessarily fewer and larger in the low free-board vessel. With the high ship those above the protective deck are used chiefly for stowing coal, supplies, &c., and hence can be made small. No such division into a multitude of small compartments is practicable on the berth-deck of a monitor, which forms the living-space of a crew. The space amidships cannot be used for this purpose, for it is monopolized by the engines and boilers. In a monitor large compartments, and consequently large water spaces in .case of penetration, must fill up the ends of the ship. The absolute loss of buoyancy upon. damage to the sides is thus enormously increased, and that in a ship whose margin of safety in this respect is only one-fourth of that of her high-sided consort.


The term "radius of action" is commonly used to mean the extreme distance which a ship can travel with a full supply of coal at her most economical rate of steaming. This extreme distance is also designated "coal endurance," being the number of miles the coal supply will endure. At the end of this distance the coal supply is exhausted, and the ship cannot move without filling up again. The radius of effective action in actual operations is about one-third of this extreme distance, allowing one-third of the total coal supply for the ship to reach the objective point, one-third for the time she is operating at that point, during which she must, of course, keep steam up, and one-third to return to her base. Thus, if a ship has a coal endurance, or so-called radius of action, of 1,200 miles her effective radius of action will be one-third of this, or 400 miles, she can safely be counted on to operate 400 miles from her base.

The coal carried by the proposed vessel could not be more than two hundred tons, which at her most economical rate of steaming would give her an endurance of about eighteen hundred miles. Her radius of effective action, therefore, would be one-third of this, or about six hundred miles, not enough to conduct any operations whatever. How limited her field would be is shown by the following distances from New York

To the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 900 miles; Bermuda, 670 miles; to Nassau, 950 miles; to Key West, 1,170 miles; to Havana, 1,215 miles; to Pensacola, 1,650 miles; to New Orleans; 1,700 miles; to Galveston, 1,900 miles; to Vera Cruz, I,960 miles; to Port-au-Prince, I,460 miles; to Jamaica, 1,580 miles; to Aspinwall, 2,000 miles; to Nicaragua, 2,000 miles; to Rio de Janeiro, 4,700 miles; to Montevideo, 5,700 miles.

It is evident that a vessel with a coal endurance of 1,800 miles, and a radius of effective action of only 600, cannot be used as anything but a harbor defender. Even as a coast defender, so-called, she would be a failure, for she would have no capacity for acting at distant points along the coast.


The sea speed of this ship could not be seventeen knots. All experience goes to show that it is a sheer impossibility for a low free-board vessel to make any such speed in a seaway. She might have a smooth-water speed of seventeen knots; that is perhaps practicable. But the point is that in order to get .this smooth-water, speed it is necessary to give a large horse-power; in order to get horse-power you must have weight of machinery; in order to have weight of machinery you must sacrifice weight of armor and guns. The result is, therefore, that you do not have a seagoing vessel with coal endurance sufficient to operate at any distance or for any time, nor do you geld harbor-defence ship with armor or guns sufficiently heavy for defensive purposes. Moreover, it is very doubtful whether anyone would venture to drive a low free-board ship at such a rate of speed in a seaway, or if he did, whether the result (attempt) would not produce fatal results. The Miantonomoh on her voyage to Europe averaged six and eight-tenths knots. per hour, most of the time in tow. It is safe to say that no monitor has ever exceeded ten knots in a seaway. The difference in going along at this rate and driving at seventeen knots even into a moderate sea is enormous, and there is no question that at the latter rate, supposing that it could be maintained, the ship would be in great danger of fatal injury.

The true principle, if we are building harbor-defence monitors, is to build them without attempting to give them speed. If 400 tons were taken off the weight of machinery and put into armor- and armament, the ship proposed would be an efficient vessel for action within inclosed waters. She would not attempt extended operations, but she is nut intended for. this purpose.


The amendment provides for "batteries of rapid-firing guns on deck between towers."

It cannot be that this is to be taken literally. No guns could be placed "on deck" in a low free-board ship, between the towers or anywhere else. They would be swept off as soon as she got to sea. They could nut be so carried even by a vessel permanently stationed in a harbor, for occasional heavy weather would make it impossible to keep them there.

Assuming, therefore, that the intention is to place the guns in a superstructure-the only practicable arrangement for a secondary battery of any size, four-inch guns or thereabouts-the ship is by that fact also confined to harbor-defense duties. There is great danger that a low free-board vessel with a superstructure of this kind, in a heavy beam sea, will carry away the superstructure .entirely, which again would probably have a fatal result. If used exclusively as a harbor defender there would be no necessary danger in carrying this superstructure, but it is not practicable on a low free-board vessel if the latter is to be used at sea.


One of the advantages claimed for these vessels over battle-ships is in their draught. Battle-ships will draw more water-undoubtedly, but they certainly will not exceed twenty-five feet.

It is a common mistake to suppose that we have no harbors which vessels drawing twenty feet can enter. . We have thirty-eight ports which vessels drawing thirty feet can enter at half tide, including Eastport, Rockland, and Portland, Me.; Portsmouth, N. H.; Marblehead and New Bedford,. Mass.; Newport, R. I.; New London, Conn.; Gardiner's Bay and several other points on Long Island;; New York ; Hampton Roads, Va. ; Key West, F1a. ; Santa-Barbara; Monterey, San Francisco; and Mendocino City, Cal. ; Olympia, Tort Townsend, Tacoma, and Seattle, Wash. The ports of Boston; Mass., Lewes, Del., and New Orleans, La.; can be entered by vessels drawing-twenty five feet. The port of New York has a depth of thirty feet of water throughout the whole channel at mean low water, so that a ship drawing thirty feet may enter at any stage of the tide.

Several Southern ports have an extremely small depth. Monitors of even the draught proposed by the amendment--namely, 18 feet--could not enter Charleston, S. C.; or Smithville, N. C., which have only 17 feet at half tide; St. Mary's, Fla., which has less than 16; Richmond, Va., Beaufort, N. C., and Fernandina, Fla., which have under 15 ; Savannah, Ga., St. Augustine, Fla., and Galveston, Tex., under 14., and Newberne, N. C., Wilmington; N. C., and Jacksonville and Cellar Keys, Fla., under 12 feet.

Vessels capable of entering all these ports would have to be excessively light draught, and a 17-foot monitor would not be available for their defence. She could neither keep the sea nor enter the harbors.


The real fact of the case is that a vessel with powerful guns, heavy, armor, high speed, good coal endurance; and ability to fight at sea-to operate in anyway that may be desired over a long line of coast-is the best coast defender that the United States can have. It makes no difference whether this is called a battle-ship or a coast defender; the name is of no consequence. It is called a battle-ship because it can fight a battle anywhere, and it may be called a coast defender because it is the most important element in the defense of a coast of great extent.

It maybe added that the name "monitor" is equally confusing. The arrangement of the guns in armored turrets, which is one of the essential features of the monitor, giving an approximately all-round fire, is the universal. arrangement in--the battle-ships of to-day. The only feature of the monitor which-is dropped in these ships is the low free-board, which, as already shown, is incompatible with efficiency as-a seagoing coast defender.

The Value of small turret vessels with low speed and the heaviest battery and protection-say, 13-inch-guns and 18 inches of armor, to hold the inner; line of defense--in other words, to maintain constantly a certain degree of protection within the principal harbors--is recognized. But to secure protection from these alone would involve having an enormous, number of them.

Although the seagoing, sea-fighting ship costs much more than the harbor defender, its vastly greater efficiency for the protection of all points at once makes its the most economical force we have. The Government cannot begin to get the same protection in war or, the same security from aggression that leads to war by an expenditure for low free-board monitors, that it can get by the same expenditure for-the other type of ship.

The Battle of the Iron-Clods.

[From Frank Leslie's, March 1.]

An effective navy, i.e., a navy that can fight, is not in any manner a menace of war. It is, on the contrary, a most powerful factor in the preservation of peace. A show of real strength deters attack, while a display of weakness invites it. And it is solely as a means of defence-as an insurance policy to the millions of capital now at the mercy of an attacking power in our great commercial cities-that the United States is making ready to construct and equip such a Navy as shall be adequate for this purpose. We do not require a great Navy. We do need a small, compact, efficient force with every element in it the best of its kind. We want the smallest number of ships commensurate with the work to be performed, but the smaller it is the more will be required of each part.

To be able, in case of war, to completely destroy at its outbreak every base of supplies belonging to our enemy which should be in proximity to our country, and at the same time to protect the converging highways of our commerce, both foreign and coastwise, would represent the maximum demand to be made upon our Navy for purposes of defense, and hence for any purposes.

No nation would construct war-ships merely for exhibition as specimens of: the shipbuilder's art, nor would it limit its fleet to vessels able to run away from an enemy the moment he should fight. Nor would it leave its own coast unprotected while chasing over the seas in predatory warfare on the commerce of an adversary. And yet in the discussions as to the class of ships we should now build we still hear a plea put forward to construct more cruisers before we lay the keel of a battle-ship-the true fighting force in any naval organization, and of which we can hardly say that we possess a single one. At the range at which a cruiser would be able to hit the battle-ship the latter would easily sink her opponent, and any English admiral in a first-class English battle-ship would unquestionably be perfectly willing to engage in a contest with half a dozen of the best cruisers afloat.

What we need, what we must have, what we should begin at once to construct, is that which every other nation making any pretence whatever to having a navy already possesses-powerful, swift, heavily-armed, and well-armed battle-ships. No, other class of vessels could prevent our ports from being blockaded in case of war; and a blockade is what we at all hazards must prevent. A blockade of our principal cities would cause a greater national loss in one month than a whole fleet of battle-ships would cost to construct. If we want the policy we must be willing to pay the premium.

Clearly, then, unless we can have a force of fighting-ships our Navy would be of no service to us should the contingency arise for which navies exist. We would not be able to maintain our rights, defend our coast, or protect our honor at sea against even so small a state as Holland or the South American Republic of Chili.

What, then, should be the. type or character of ships we should build to meet our need? , The Secretary of the Navy, for reasons which he sets forth in his annual report, asks for battle-ships as the fast requisite and paramount necessity of our Navy to-day. The majority of the Senate Naval Committee has reported a bill authorizing the construction of eight battle-ships, two coast-defense vessels, two gunboats, and five torpedo-boats. A minority of the same committee advocates more cruisers, monitors for fighting ships, and torpedo-boats. And the present battle of .the-iron-dads is between the battle-ship and the monitor; between the -advocates of the -high free-board sea-going-vessel, possessed of speed, coal endurance, powerful guns, and heavy armor; and of those who prefer the pure monitor type, with its-low free-board, lack of speed, limited endurance, and limited armament. The Navy Department, guided by the experience of other great nations; asks that a substantial beginning be made toward- providing us with Battle-ships combining the best features of the monitor type with the. improvements developed for our use and profit during the past twenty-five years by other experimenters.

There is no question of "ponderous, unwieldy, and costly broadside armored vessels"--a type no naval administration would now construct, and which the present Secretary has not even suggested. Nor has it been proposed to duplicate the foreign "monsters" of 14,000 tons or over, for they could not enter our harbors. It is desired to build the turreted battle-ship which can go out to sea and, stay there; can fight an enemy at all times and wherever he may be encountered; can prevent a blockade of our harbors, and keep a hostile fleet so far from the coast that it cannot shell our cities, which will be to tire Navy what the infantry is to the Army-the chief reliance, the main strength, in offensive or defensive warfare: None of these requirements can be met by the low-freeboard monitor. She is a floating fortification; movable, but without the stability of the, land fort; a harbor defender, but not a coast defender. In any seaway her ports must be kept closed tight to prevent the vessel from foundering, and it is impossible for her to use her guns. She carries but a limited supply of coal, and moves only at a low rate of speed.

What shall be the New Navy?

[From the Troy Daily Times, Feb. 27.]

Secretary Tracy holds that this country should have a fleet of at least twenty new battle-ships, besides a suitable proportion of coast defenders, cruisers, and torpedo-boats. Our belief is that not only is he correct in his estimate of the Nation's naval need, but that the public will emphatically agree with him in this matter. As the' country has started to create a new-navy, it cannot afford to waste time, money, and effort upon an inferior class of war-vessels, doomed to-be knocked to pieces in the first encounter with a European naval flotilla in the' event of hostilities.


[From the Washington Post.-By Commander Barber.]

While so mach is being said in criticism of the recommendation of the Secretary-of the Navy to build eight armor-clods, I would like to call attention to a few matters which have apparently escaped observation. There seems to be an antipathy to these vessels-first, because we are not a belligerent nation; second, because they are large and costly; third, they are said to draw too much water for coast defence; and, fourth, because unarmored cruisers are satisfactory enough for our naval sea-going purposes.

In the West Indies, in Europe, China, Brazil, and the Pacific, there is not a single fighting-ship belonging to the American Navy.

Can any one say that in these squadrons we do not want-at least one ship that is not built to run away?

Monitors will not do for this business. Indeed, there are very prevalent ideas in the United States regarding the value of monitors for general service which are entirely erroneous. Let me illustrate with a bit of history. The monitor was the creation of a genius at the hour of the nation's peril to fulfill a certain object under certain conditions. It represented the most powerful military combination known, viz., an all-round fire from the, guns, a complete armored defence and practical invisibility on account of the small size-a veritable David. In the smooth waters of Hampton Roads it nobly fulfilled its mission, but afterwards, what then? The original monitor sank at sea when being towed down the coast. Other and better reproductions of her type were constructed, but they were 33 per cent. larger. David was growing. They did nowhere near the service, however, that the New Ironsides did afterward during the war. The New Ironsides was an armored frigate built by Cramp, with a heavy broadside battery. She had spars, too, and her sails enabled her to hold her place off Charleston for months together on blockade.

Time after time for two years she would go into action with the Charleston forts, and stay, there for hours and hours. In six months she was struck 193 times. She never was penetrated, she never lost a man, and she never left the port for repairs, and never was obliged to stop fighting except when her supply of ammunition was exhausted. On the other hand, there was scarcely an action with the forts in which one or two of the monitors were not disabled, and not one of them that was' not obliged to go to a repair shop; besides which their desultory fire never compared with that of the New Ironsides. This was known at the Department; but there was a boom in monitors, and there wasn't any boom in Ironsides. Then we built larger monitors, and thereby gave up invisibility. David no more; for Goliath would have warmed David if he could have seen where the stones were coming from. One of these monitors, the Miantonomoh, went to Russia, and the Monadnock went to San Francisco. They were in tow or under convoy the whole time, and in bad weather and even moderate weather, I have been told that the turrets could not be turned, as it was necessary to keep the joint between the turret and the deck tight by caulking to keep the water from getting below and sinking the ship.

In England they put spars into a monitor the Captain-and sent her to sea. She capsized and sunk, with over 500 souls on board. Just after the time the Monitor was fighting the Merrimac, the French armored frigate Normandie was lying in the harbor of Vera Cruz, having made the voyage from France entirely alone, as is a common practice nowadays. The Monitor, was a good ship, but it is not the type we need now to meet our first necessity. That type cannot do efficient work at sea unless so largely modified as to be unrecognizable, and we already have quite a number for coast defense.

It is a mistake to say that these sea-going armor dads will not be useful for coast-defense. Since when has twenty-five feet of water been deemed prohibitory for an American: man-of-war. I myself have sailed-from New York in the frigate Minnesota, drawing twenty-five feet of water? We built many vessels like the Minnesota and were proud of them. I think she was actually built at this very Washington yard. What was the matter with the Wabash, Roanoke, Franklin, and the old line-of-battle ships, Independence, Ohio, etc. We forget, too, that the combats- between the monitors arid Merrimacs and Tennsssees of the rebellion were in inland waters. This would. not be the case in a war with a foreign country unless we are caught in the same condition of impotence that we were in 1814, when the English came up here and burned the town. Size, which is not necessarily accompanied by inordinate draught at water, is essential to a vessel which is intended to act efficiently away from the coast. It has been found that, accepting visibility as a necessity forced upon tile naval- architect-to- insure seaworthiness, he is forced to rise to 9,000 tons displacement, at least, to secure sufficient speed and coal endurance, combined with efficient powers of offence and defence. Cost follows as a necessity.

It is a mistake to infer that the term obsolete, when applied to a steel man-of-war, means uselessness. They never wear out, and because, fashions change in clothes it is no reason why one should have no clothes at all. At the bombardment of Alexandria, one of the, most efficient of the English vessels was the Invincible, built twenty years ago. Other instances could be cited. The Chilian Almirante Cochrane, for example, which thrashed the Peruvian modified monitor Huascar, was built fifteen years ago; and is an excellent fighting-ship to-day. Of unarmored cruisers we have plenty. In the New York herald, of April 15, 1865-the same edition that announces the death of Lincoln-is a long letter from its correspondent at Corunna, in Spain, telling how the Confederate armored ram Stonewall lay outside the port and right angles the United States frigate Niagara and the sloop-of-wan Sacramento to come out and fight, and they did not dare go out. Ask any candid naval officer how much better off to-day would the Chicago and Yorktown be under the same circumstances. Their guns could penetrate the Stonewall's armor, at right angles; but most blows at sea are glancing blows. It is a maxim among artillerists that when the gun goes to sea it loses half its efficiency from inaccuracy, due to instability of platform; when the armor goes to sea it doubles its efficiency by reason of its angular presentation than the armor.

The guns of the Stonewall would penetrate the Chicago or Yorktown at any angle. Unarmored vessels also require just as many men as armored ones, and Congress -will never give us many men for the Navy in time of peace.

We make no mistake when we ask drat our next ships be sea-going armor-clads.

The New Navy Once More.

[From New York Herald, February 28]

We print elsewhere to-day a letter signed "Ex-Nauticus," the writer of which opposes the proposed battle-ships, and urges in their stead a much larger and in the aggregate much more costly fleet of smaller and slower ships: That does not seem to us a sensible plan.

"Ex-Nauticus" raises three objections to the eight battle-ships proposed by Secretary Tracy. They are too costly, they-draw too much water, and it will take too long to build them. And he repeats the now stale charge that Secretary Tracy's recommendations and those of the Policy Board are substantially identical. We say this is a stale charge and will once more show it to be a gross misstatement.


The Policy Board recommended a total of one hundred and twenty-six vessels, in which number were to be counted thirty-four hew vessels already built or authorized. The Secretary suggested as a possible total one hundred vessels, in which were included not only the thirty-four new vessels authorized since 1882, but also eight iron vessels surviving from the old fleet Mr. Tracy's plan contemplated, therefore, a fleet of twenty-nine armored ships and twenty-nine unarmored ships, making a total of fifty-eight. The number to be built under the Policy Board plan was fifty-four armored ships and thirty-eight unarmored ships, making a total of ninety-two, or little less than double the number proposed, by the Secretary. Further, the Policy Board proposes one hundred torpedo boats; the Secretary recommended the construction of five, to add to the one we now have. It is absurd to say these two plans are substantially identical.


But the eight ten-thousand-ton battle-ships are too costly," says Ex-Nauticus." .They are to cost five millions each, and when they are done we-shall have for forty millions eight efficient and first-class vessels, fast, capable of using the heaviest ordnance in any fighting weather and with abundant coal. capacity. Instead of these, Ex-Nauticus" urges, in the name of economy, twenty six thousand-ton armored ships, which are to be slow, of a speed not exceeding -fifteen knots," of a limited coal endurance of not more than three thousand miles, and twenty feet draught. These twenty vessels could not by any possibility cost less than three and a half millions apiece, and would therefore involve a total outlay of seventy millions. That this estimate is correct is shown by the fact, that the Maine and the Texas, with their lighter batteries, cost nearly this amount. In the name of economy he would therefore spend nearly twice as much money as Mr. Tracy.


But he adds that the battle-ships will draw too much water. He asserts that if they should encounter a superior fleet off Boston or New York they could not take refuge in these ports. He does not seem to know that New York harbor at mean low water is perfectly accessible to vessels drawing not only twenty

five but ,twenty-eight, feet, and that to, after making a liberal allowance for the swell on the bar. If anyone doubts this statement an inquiry addressed to the engineer officer in charge of improvements in New York harbor will establish its accuracy. Not only at New York, which is, of course, the most important point; but at many other points along our coast there are harbors which a vessel drawing twenty-five feet can enter with ease and safety. As to an enemys overwhelming force we can say only this: Whenever a fleet is attacked by an overwhelming force it runs, and its safety then depends on its speed, if it has speed. If it is composed in these days of the "not-exceeding-fifteen-knot" ships of "Ex-Nauticus," running will do no good. The overwhelming force will "sink, destroy, and capture" the slow fleet, and that will be the end of it. The "light draught" will not save the slow fleet, because it will not be allowed by the "overwhelming force" to reach a harbor.


Our correspondent-urges that it will take too long to build battle-ships. But that will seem to sensible men a strong reason for beginning work on them as soon as possible. Gun-boats or small cruisers that can be built in a year, monitors or large cruisers that might be built in two years under a pressure, or even a slow six-thousand-ton armored ship that would take somewhat, longer; these we can safely postpone if we can postpone any. The ships that take a longer time-to build are the ones that should not be postponed. Nor is it certain that a six-thousand-ton ship will take a very much shorter time to build than a ten-thousand-ton ship. The time required for building is not wholly a question of displacement.


it is an established fact that you cannot build. a ship with heavy armor and heavy guns and the required rate o speed that will be able to conduct serious operations at sea unless you make her a battle-ship. Her coal will give out; and when the coal of a modern war-ship gives out she is worthless; she cannot move until she fills up again. It is not a mere question of making a passage from point to point. She must, be able to keep the sea, and in so doing to be unhampered by the possible failure of her coal, for in war she cannot get a supply from neutrals. If we wish to meet the conditions of the problem of defence, we-must have ships that will be able to go to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, to Halifax, to the West Indies, and to the Isthmus, cruise there for a considerable tune, and return without being under the necessity of re-coaling. It is not possible to build a ship that will do all this and at the same time carry four twelve inch-guns, a suitable secondary battery, and a proportionate allowance of armor and make seventeen knots speed on a displacement of eight thousand tons. It has been tried by European nations, and has been found impossible. It is an obsolete idea.

More -Ships for the Navy.

[From New York Tribune, March 1.]

Senator Hole's bill authorizing the construction of additional war-ships should not be confounded with the report of the Naval Policy Board. That ambitious document represented the tastes and fancies of a group of Naval officers. They are men of distinguished ability, and the results of their deliberations, whether Congress decides to build one ship or five hundred, will be of great advantage. The work of construction has been hitherto experimental and without any definite system. We have gone as far as is wise upon those lines. The time has come when decisions must be reached as to how much and what sort of a Naval establishment the country should have. Secretary Tracy has expended much labor upon investigations intended to enable the Government to come to such conclusions. The work performed bythe Policy Board was apart of these investigations; but it must not be assumed that the Department indorses the Board's decisions. With many of them, undoubtedly, Secretary Tracy-agrees. With several he has distinctly said he does not agree. It has been repeatedly affirmed as the judgment of the Administration that however large the plan of construction may be in the contemplation of the Government, whatever final results may

be sought, no Congress should be asked to appropriate for any considerable term of years.

This is sound and wise. It is desirable to make all possible haste in adding to rue Navy, for, notwithstanding the fleet recently built; the old ships are going out of commission faster than new ones are coming in. But there is neither use nor propriety in authorizing ahead of the capacity of our shipyards. They should all be kept hard at work until the Navy has become satisfactory. Senator Hales bill is conceived in this spirit. It represents the views of the Senate Naval Committee and of the Administration. It aims to make a good beginning of the work outlined in Secretary Tracy's report. Eight battle-ships, two armed coast defenders, three gunboats and five torpedo-boats are authorized. Thus far we have been building cruisers mainly-in times of peace the most useful type of vessel. It is now proposed to turn to other lines of construction, so that the Navy as it grows may be useful in all emergencies, and may contain vessels adapted to every kind of service.

Some objection has been made to the building of battle-ships. It is urged that they are too costly, too heavy, and not necessary for our service. Just how any marked distinction can be made between our Navy and those of other countries we do not see. If we need a Navy at all, we need it to be effective against other navies. War-ships are not built for-spectacular effect, except as the spectacle may suggest prudence to those who differ from us. They, are not built for their beauty, at all events. It may be well enough for us to adopt our own fashions in the building of monuments and capitols, but we need to construct war-ships so that they will prevail over other war-ships. Then how can we

wisely introduce aesthetics into our construction plans, and make a Navy to suit our tastes regardless of the fact that the navies of Europe contain vessels that can stay beyond our range and blow us out of the water! The argument against the Hale bill fails to answer this question. It fails to show that the main point in owning a Navy, national safety, can be gained at all without battle-ships. It fails to show that they are too heavy, or too clumsy, or too costly. The Judgment of the best authorities is that they are going to be a tremendous factor in the next naval war, and if they are we cannot afford to be without them.

Battle-Ships vs. Monitors.

[From New York Mail and Express.]

As to the question whether we need baffle-ships or not, that is really asking whether we need a navy that-can fight or not. The Navy the United States needs is one that can maintain peace by the display of sufficient strength to make the issue of a contest problematical. But even a large number of admirable cruisers, able to run away from ships that would sink them before they could get in range to use their own guns, would avail little against a jealous rival. We must be able to prevent a blockade of our ports, to compel an attacking force to keep outside the point where it can shell our cities, and unless we can do this we have not an effective Navy at all. The battle-ships are the only vessels that can do this successfully. It is battle-ships that would constitute the fighting force of an opponent, and it is only by meeting fire with fire by combatting force with equal or superior force that victories at sea are to be won. Hence the imperative necessity for a certain number of these ships in our Navy.

Accepting this as established, the question comes as to the type of fighting ship for us to adopt, and here the difference appears to be between the advocates of the monitor type and of the battle-ship proper--not "armored broad side monsters," as Mr. Chandler calls them, for broadside armored ships are not constructed or desired by any naval administration but between those who favor the low free-board turret ship unable to use its guns in any seaway and the believers in the high free-board turreted ship-the improved monitor-capable of going to sea under any conditions and fighting an adversary wherever met. The monitor, as we know it, is of no service except in smooth water, and the testimony of the officers who commanded them during the war is unanimous as to their usefulness for harbor defence only. Their guns are too near the water to be used except when there is little or no motion, and their coal endurance is too limited to enable them to go far from their base of supply. Harbor defenders the monitors may be, but not coast defenders. The high free-board turret battle-ship is the monitor adapted for sea service, combining the merits and advantages of the harbor and coast defenders as well as the ability to attack or defend itself under any circumstances. And these are the ships we need and must have to give us an effective navy..

Increase of the Navy.

[From Philadelphia Ledger, February 25]

A navy is a fighting force. That is the sole object of its existence and maintenance. We need no navy supply to "police the seas" or for purposes of conquest or aggression, but we do want the strength that prevents aggression and commands respect, and of such a quality that it will be adequate to what may be required of it in case of attack. The battle-ship is to the navy what the infantry and artillery are to the army. It is the best and safest vessel to prevent a blockade, defend our coasts, and to do hard fighting at sea. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that we should have some of these ships as an essential part of our naval force, and, as it, requires four or five years to construct and equip one of these powerful vessels, if is necessary to authorize the construction of some of them at once. As to the type of battle-ship, the difference appears to be wholly between the advocates of the high free-board monitor and those who favor the low free-board monitor, for the modern battle-ship embodies the best features of the monitor with such improvements as the progress of science and the development of naval warfare have approved. The low free-board monitor which Senator Chandler advocates finds it difficult to fire its guns in a seaway, cannot get up satisfactory speed, has no sufficient coal capacity, and cannot, therefore, go far from its base of supplies. It is a useful ship only in smooth water or as a harbor defender. The high free-board monitor on the other hand, combines the qualities of battle-ship,. coast defender, and harbor defender, has speed and coal endurance enabling it to remain at sea for a considerable time, and by the elevation of its guns above the water it is able to fight in a seaway, and to be of service both for offence and defence.

Battle-Ships and Monitors.

[From New York World, February 14.)

Senator Chandler's minority report on the bill for the new Navy is very misleading. In the first place, it assumes that the report of the Policy Board, which deals with, the Navy as it ought to be when all the work of rebuilding is completed, is the recommendation of the Secretary of the Navy. It is not.

In the second place, it makes an issue between two imaginary ships-a battleship which is a broadside ship, and a monitor which is a sea-going vessel. Mr. Chandler is an advocate of the monitor and an opponent of the battle-ship, apparently because he does not know precisely what a battle-ship is.

A modern battle-ship is a developed monitor. In appearance the British ship Trafalgar, which represents the modern type, is very like the Puritan. It has a casemate amidships for its secondary battery and two turrets fore and aft for its main battery, just as the, Puritan has. But a battle-ship has these advantages over a monitor: It has a twelve instead of a two-foot free-board, so that it can go to sea. In defending a harbor it could pursue the enemy and break up his blockade. It has a speed of from seventeen to nineteen knots instead of ten or thirteen knots. If the enemy induced a monitor to run ten miles away from the harbor, he could turn around and beat this ancient coast defender back to port by about half an hour. The battle-ship has a coal endurance of 10,000 miles; the monitor a coal endurance of 2,000 miles. If there were trouble in the Isthmus, a monitor might get to the place, but could neither fight nor come home except in tow of an abler vessel.

The monitor, in other words, is obsolete, and the battle-ship is as necessary to a navy as infantry is to an army. Neither is the Trafalgar type an experiment. It is the result of many years of experiment, and has been adopted by

England, Russia, and Italy, and practically by France.

Mr. Chandler's notions are many years old. It would be a serious mistake if Congress were not to adopt the battle-ship.

Need of an Adequate Navy.

[From St. Louis Globe Democrat; February 23.]

If there were a reasonable certainty that the country would not be involved in foreign complications within the next quarter of a century or half a century, the necessity for beginning at once the creation of a Navy proportionate to our population, material resources, and commercial importance would not be so urgent or imperative as it is, now. Manifestly, however, we can have no such assurance. The very power and prestige which we have gained tend to destroy all chances of a prolonged period of peace by compelling us to broaden the circle of our National activities and interests, thus bringing us in more direct contact with the ambitions and aspirations of other great powers than in the past, and at the same time arousing the jealousy and exciting the animosity of foreign potentates against the country.

Nor is the plea that the country has suffered no injury in the past quarter of a century from the absence of a Navy altogether justified by the facts. Three or four times within that period this lack has subjected us to slights and insults which we have borne with the best grace which we could muster, knowing our weakness on the ocean. Even little Chili has felt safe in treating us contemptuously. If the country had had a Navy seventeen years ago, the Virginius massacre by Spaniards in Cuba would not have taken place, and American citizens in that island condemned to death without a fair hearing, would not have been compelled to seek protection from the captain of a British war vessel. Occurrences as humiliating to our national pride and as detrimental to our national influence and prestige as this was are even more within the bounds of possibility in the future than they were in the past, if the country does not promptly and intelligently secure the means to prevent them, or to resent them if they take place. An adequate and effective Navy might save the country from a war which, if waged but half a year, would result in a monetary loss ten times as great as the cost of a Navy which would meet all our requirements.

[Battle-Ships a Necessity for the Defence of Cities.]

[From San Francisco Morning Gall, February 16.]

The city of San Francisco occupies a very vulnerable position. Forts and guns, no matter how powerful, could not prevent its destruction by first-class heavily armored vessels, carrying guns, as many of them do, with ranges of over ten miles. A number of ships of this class could take up a position in the Pacific Ocean four or five miles from shore and shell the pity, keeping in motion while doing so, with but little danger from the guns in the forts around the harbor. Any one familiar with gunnery knows how difficult it is to hit an object even the size of a large vessel at such a distance, particularly when it is in motion, whereas the bombarding fleet would have such a wide field to fire over that every shot and shell would inflict more or less injury on the city.

It would be useless to point out a danger without suggesting a means of defence against it. Experience goes to prove that the best way to defend is to attack.. A nation, army, city, fort, or fleet, reduced to a purely defensive attitude, generally succumbs sooner or later. This has been the result in all wars of the past with but very few exceptions. San Francisco and every other city in the country lying so close to the ocean require for their protection war vessels equally as formidable in guns and armament as those that might be brought to bear on them by any of the great maritime powers of the world. Without such a fleet all other means of defence would not save them from destruction, although they might prevent their capture.

Much is expected of the Monterey, when built, as a coast-defence vessel. Her designation is, I understand, a submerging cruising monitor, which means that she will be partially submerged when in action, which would of course lessen her speed, and render her less formidable in attack. She is considered an interesting experiment in naval construction. In case that she should be able to accomplish all that is claimed for her she would not be able to encounter on equal terms any of the large men-of-war of either England, France, or Italy.

What we Need for Defence.

[From St. Louis Globe Democrat.]

In the conditions which obtain in our case no Navy would be good for any thing for defensive purposes except one which would be adequate for purposes of offence. We need a good many vessels of the best make which we can secure. It is not absolutely essential that they be as large as the largest, but they must be as swift, as seaworthy, and as generally effective as the best. Ships like these cost something, but the country wants them and can afford to get them.

Battle-Ships vs. Monitors.

[New York Marine Journal, March 1 ]

The fight which is now on as to whether we are to have monitors or battle ships in the way of a further increase of the new Navy promises to give rise to no end of arguments. pro and con. The Hale bill provides for battle-ships. Mr. Chandler's proposed amendment thereto substitutes monitors. We do not underrate the value of monitors as harbor-defence vessels, and desire to see more of them at the right time added to the Navy. It must be borne in mind, however, that at present we have a number of monitors which can be readily made effective as harbor-defence vessels, while we have not a single battle-ship in commission, whatever we may have on the stocks in the way of the Maine and Texas. The armament, speed, and coal-carrying capacity, higher free-board, and consequent sea-going advantages of the battle-ship make that type capable of doing the work of a monitor in many respects as a harbor defender and that of a high-sea fighter as well.


[From Frank Leslie's, March 1]

[Lt. S. D. Greene, Executive Officer of the first Monitor, March ,1862.]

"At sea she would be unable to work her guns, as we are obliged to keep the ports closed and calked, they being but five feet above the water. For smooth water operations, such as she was engaged in on the 9th inst., I think her a most desirable vessel. The opinion of experienced seamen on board is the same as my own."

June 3, 1863, Admiral Dupont wrote to the Navy Department relative to the employment of the monitors on blockade duty, that they were "totally unfit for this duty. They are not sea-going or sea-keeping vessels. In even a slight sea the hatches must be battened down." The commanding officers of the monitors also reported to the Admiral: "We think these vessels are entirely inadequate to maintain a blockade at sea." January 20, 1863, Commander John L. Worden wrote of a short sea-trip of the Montauk: " The sea sometimes broke-over the deck as much as two and a half or three feet deep. * * * She gives positive indications that if forced end on into a sea she will strain both overhangs greatly; and if she gets into the trough of the sea, will wallow very heavily, to such an extent, indeed, as to render the breaking of a tolerably high sea over the-turret almost certain." February 26, 1864, in a long communication to the Navy Department, Rear-Admiral Goldsborough says:


"The monitors we have already constructed and used in service, I am impelled to regard as open to the serious objections of a marked deficiency in ability for general naval purposes, and in strength of bottom, seaworthiness, speed, turning qualities, height of deck above the water, and habitality; yet, for mere smooth-water harbor operations-the object, I suppose, for which they were intended-they undoubtedly do possess formidable offensive and defensive properties, viewed in a relative sense."

[From report of Secretary Welies, December 7,1863.]

"To maintain our rightful maritime position, and for predominance upon the ocean, vessels of greater size than any turreted vessel yet completed may be essential. * * * Being unlike the other great maritime nations, without distant colonies, where coal depots can be established on the shore of almost every sea, we must conform to the necessities of our condition, and, build ships with capacity enough to take, on board fuel sufficient for a long cruise. The space for other supplies, for the munitions of war, and for the accommodation of officers and crews, should also be ample, and, in addition to this, each of these vessels must, in order to accomplish its work, present in its construction, armor, armament, and propulsion, all the power that the resources of modern invention and mechanical science and art can furnish for attack, resistance, and pursuit. A vessel of this description must, of course, cost a large price. But, then, a wise statesmanship will not fail to perceive that the possession of even a very few such unconquerable ships must, while vastly augmenting the force and renown of our Navy, afford us, at the same time, an inestimable guarantee of peace with foreign nations; nor, in counting the cost of such floating structures, can we forget that, large as that cost may be, it yet sinks into insignificance in contrast with the expenditures and sacrifices of a single year, or even a month, of foreign war."

Loss of the Monitor.

[From New York Times, February 16.]

The original Monitor, it will be remembered, was lost off Cape Hatteras while being towed, the water, it is believed, having forced its way down between turret and deck. Ordinarily, when not in action, heavy battens are put round the base of the turret and wedged in so closely that it would be impossible for water to find an entrance. But it is difficult to describe the force of a sea to those unacquainted with its power. In the case of the Monitor the tow freeboard deck, wholly void of a bulwark, permitted the waves to roll over the low deck and against the unprotected turret with terrible force. This latter structure, with its delicate mechanism, was never .intended to withstand shocks that enveloped its whole frame at once: The concussion caused by the blow of a projectile can hardly be compared with the battering-ram-like weight of a green sea. One pierces while the other attempts to hurl down by sheer weight. It is generally supposed that in the heavy seaway encountered by the Monitor her fastenings round the base of the turret started, with the natural result that she foundered in very short order.

Loss of the " Captain."

[From New York Times. February 16.]

" Then," as the writer at the time put it, "came the dreadful news that she had gone down--dating the night between the 6th and 7th of September of Cape Finisterre. The wind had not been unusually violent; the sea had not been exceptionally heavy; there was no extenuating circumstances; she had not bravely battled with ordinarily rough weather; she was proceeding confidently under steam and sails when, in an ordinary squall, she displayed once and for all her subtle and treacherous character by slowly turning over and becoming the coffin of nearly the 'whole of her crew, some five hundred men, including a large number of accomplished officers."

The loss of the Captain settled beyond doubt the monitor type, unseaworthiness of the though many argued that this fact had been aptly demonstrated in the loss of the original Monitor on our own coast.

The Best Kind of War-Ship.


[From New York Times, March 9.]

The vote in Congress on Senator Hales bill for the construction of eight new battle-ships for the Navy promises to be the most important event which has arisen in the, development of the new naval establishment.

The bill, however, has not passed the Senate Naval Committee without opposition. Senator Chandler made a minority report against it. His objections are not against the authorization, but against the provisions which stipulate that

the ships, shall be, high free-boarder vessels. Senator Chandler's objections are taken up by advocates of the monitor, type of ship, and it is over the relative value of the monitor and high free-board vessel that the present controversy is being waged.

As in the case of all the advocates of the monitor system the arguments used are very simple, and their force has consisted so far of reiteration. There is not-one that cannot be answered by counter-arguments based on sound principles.

The arguments advanced by the monitor advocates may be classed under three heads, viz., (1) tactical, (2) structural, (3) economical.


In its tactical aspect the monitor people have generally begged the question. They state a general case when they assume that a single point on the coast of the United States is to be attacked, and that for its defence a large fleet of monitors is collected at that point. They presuppose that the enemy's fleet has been allowed to cross the ocean unmolested, and that his objective point is known beforehand, and that the whole naval force of this country is there to meet him when he comes. They also take the simple and popular view that coast defence. means fighting on the coast and- nowhere else. This was the phase of the question when the controversy first opened, and before even the most ardent of the monitor advocates pretended to assert that the monitor was intended for anything but coast and harbor defence.

The points that meet this view of coast defence are briefly as follows: 1. If the monitor fleet is scattered along the coast, it will be beaten in detail; if it is concentrated at one place, the enemy will go somewhere else. The inability of the monitor to pursue and fight at sea leaves the enemy master of the situation as far as tactics go. 2. This system of defence will not neutralize any portion of the enemy's effective naval strength. It leaves him at liberty to uncover the whole of his coast, and concentrate on ours, which he would be a fool not to do under such an invitation. 3. It is no protection to coastwise commerce. 4. It will not prevent the blockade of our ports. 5. It will not prevent his seizing cooling stations, and bases of supplies in the immediate vicinity of the coast, nor will it allow of our seizing cooling stations or reducing such stations as he may already possess.

In a word, it leaves the enemy entirely master of the situation, with power to blockade or bombard any port or ports he chooses, to destroy commerce, and to occupy stations in the vicinity of this country, and to concentrate all his force on this coast, and bring the war home to the people of this country. The tactical aspect of the monitor case may be said to be embraced in the foregoing, except in the one matter of draught of water. The advocates of the monitor have always insisted on a light draught as a tactical advantage, but as this question properly relates to construction, it should be treated under that head. Tactically the question was answered in The Times' article of the 16th ult. See. page 14. It may be added, however, that the principal ports of the United States coast will always be open to the proposed battle-ships.


Being fairly and hopelessly cornered on the tactical side of the question, the advocates of the monitor suddenly jump over to the constructive side and say, in effect: "Granting that we must have ships that can fight at sea (i.e., battleships), why is not the monitor such a ship? The monitor is as good a sea-fighting ship as the modern battle-ship." This has been a rather astonishing proposition to naval constructors of late. Previous arguments in favor of the monitor had stated that the monitor type was structurally safer than any other type at sea; that she could proceed in safety from port to port, &c., but nothing was said about her ability to fight at sea. Before proceeding to consider the constructive side of the argument, it may be well to give the official definition of "battle-ship" and "coast-defence vessel," as adopted for classification in foreign navies and by our own Navy Department.


is a ship that can take her place in line of battle under all circumstances of place, with seaworthiness and steadiness enough to fight her guns in a seaway, with sufficient protection to guarantee against her being disabled by a few well-directed shots in battle, with coal, ammunition, and provision endurance sufficient to enable her to proceed on long voyages unaided and to operate at a distance from a base of supplies, with heavy battery power, and speed enough to give her a commanding power in maneuvers.


is a ship that can take her place in line of battle under circumstances favorable to herself, but whose sphere of operations is limited, through lack of seaworthiness, speed, or endurance, to the vicinity of a friendly coast. At first sight, it might appear that the monitor clearly belonged to the category of "coast defence" and not of "battle-ship," according to definitions adopted long before the opening of the present controversy. In order, however, to meet the arguments of the other side, it became necessary to show that the monitor was structurally unfit for fighting at sea, and for operations at a long distance-from the base of supplies. It needs no argument to prove that these two qualities are indispensable to a sea-fighting ship, that is, to a ship whose sphere of operations and whose battle-field is the sea. The question at once arises, How does the monitor, type stand in respect to these two qualities?


The salient feature of the monitor, the feature that makes it a low free-board. This the advocates of the monitor insist upon.

They also insist on the light draught for tactical advantages. Granted, then, a low free-board light-draught vessel, what sort of a sea-fighting ship will she be? This question must rest wholly on theory, as no monitor ever fought a battle at sea, and the officers who commanded monitors and served in them during the civil war, so far as any record of their opinion on this question exists, were unanimous in saying that the monitor was structurally unfit for fighting or operating at sea.


The first requisite of a sea-fighting ship is steadiness as a gun platform. It is not enough to say that the monitor carries her guns too near the water that she would fire into the seas, not over them; that the seas would constantly break over her decks and turrets and practically prevent working the guns in all sorts of weather not absolutely calm and smooth; that the gunners would be unable to see the enemy, except, occasionally as the vessel rose to the top of the seas; that in, steaming into a head sea the ship would be practically under water and the speed reduced by the weight of water on deck and strain on the ship and machinery. All these arguments are true enough and weighty enough; but if it could be said in reply, "the monitor is at least the most steady gun platform," these arguments would lose all or most of their force. But this is exactly what the monitor is not. She is a safe ship, but she is the most unsteady gun platform that could be built to float, and that on account of the very quality that makes her safe. This statement is based upon the exact and mathematical principles of naval architecture, against which no sophistry can avail.

Without entering into technical language any further than to make the meaning clear, these principles may be stated briefly, as follows: 1. A high deep draught ship has a small metacentric height. 2. A low shallow ship has a great metacentric height. 3. For stiffness the metacentric height should be great; for steadiness in a seaway it should be small: Now, stiffness or stability is the one thing the monitor must have. If she does not have it, if she heels under pressure to such a point as to bring her gunwale underwater, she will capsize. Consequently the center of gravity must be kept low; the weights must all be kept low. If you put high weight on a low free-board ship, she will capsize under pressure exactly as the British war-ship Captain did. It was the attempt to make a low free-board ship with a small metacentric height that lost the Captain. The low metacentric height was necessary to give her the steadiness of a sea-fighting ship, and it lost her because low free-board was attempted at the same time. .

Take the Miantonomoh as an example. She is a typical monitor. Her length is 250 feet; beam, 55.5 feet; draught, extreme, 14.75 feet; free-board, 30 inches; height of the axis of the guns above water; 6 feet; metacentric height, 14 feet (the Baltimore's is 1.5 feet); period of oscillation, 2.75 seconds. Her deck is almost parallel at all times to the surface of the waves. The angle of inclination of an Atlantic storm-wave is - 18 degrees approximately, and. its period about Io seconds. Now, in half the period of the wave.the extreme flat, shallow ship will roll through an arc equal to double the angle of inclination of the wave; that is; she will roll (approximately),through an arc of 36 degrees in 5 seconds, and that without any intermediate periods of rest. A simple calculation will show how long her guns will bear on an object 500 or.I,000 yards distant: The above figures, it must be remembered, are assuming the extreme, that is, the minimum; of steadiness, because in the monitor type of ship stiffness is carried to an extreme, and consequently steadiness is reduced to a minimum. Steadiness may be increased in actual experience by the action of the water that breaks on board, or by other circumstances, but the principle remains the same.

The calculation of the metacentric height is a matter of approximation only. It known exactly after the ship is built. When the English or French naval architects want to build a battle-ship that shall have great steadiness at sea what do they do ? They follow the lines of some previously-built ship whose qualities are known to be about light. They take that ship; or several ships, as a guide. What do the monitor advocates in this country propose to do? They propose to take as a model a ship whose qualities are known to be just wrong!


The present advocates of low free-board ships are simply going over the same old experimental ground that has been tried and found to be wanting years ago in foreign navies. They propose that instead of, profiting by the experience of foreign countries and stepping in at the very head of the line of naval progress, which we are in a position to do, with full knowledge of the experience gained abroad to guide us and native ingenuity to improve on details, they would have Americans step in at the end and begin where others left off years ago. They cling to their low free-board as to a fetish for the same reason they can assign no other that the ostrich sticks his head into the sand. Take Senator Chandler's proposed amendment to the Hale bill, and, with the given conditions of cost, draught of water, speed, and battery, construct the ship. What would be the result? A nondescript, atop-heavy, low free-board, light-draught, harbor-defence vessel of about 5,000 tons displacement, with the speed of the battle-ship, but not the power to avail herself of it; unable to fight her guns at sea; unable to cruise for lack of coal endurance; without the only advantage that can be claimed for the low free-board, viz., invisibility, an advantage which has been greatly overrated by the monitor advocates, and with a reserve buoyancy of only 20 per cent as against 80 per cent in the high free-board ship.

It is proposed to make a small, cheap vessel of 5,000 or 6,000 tons displacement fill the place and do the work of the costly ship of 10,000 tons, displacement. Senator Chandler is afraid, apparently, if the battle-ships are authorized that they will be obsolete before they are launched, and so he suggests as a reasonable alternative the building of vessels that are known to be obsolete before they are laid down.


The modern battle-ship is a logical development of progress. It has been evolved from the increasing demands for speed, endurance, seaworthiness, battery, and protection combined to the highest degree in a single ship, and this leads naturally to the last side of the monitor arguments, viz., the economical, which has been answered in what has been said above. If any one of the advocates of the monitor system has discovered the means of combining the required factors in 6,000 tons as completely as in 10,000 tons, if he can furnish for $2,500,000 an article that is worth $5,000,000, let him take his process abroad and his fortune is assured. The nations of Europe are in serious earnest as to the necessity of naval efficiency; but they are heavily taxed, and no more inclined to spend money needlessly than are the people of this country. If, therefore, a secret has been discovered by which an effective battle-ship, as defined above, can be constructed at a cost of half the price now paid, and on a displacement of half that now considered necessary, the lucky possessor of that secret has only to exhibit it to the authorities of England, France, Italy, or Russia to make his fortune.


The Hale Naval Bill.

[From the Rochester Democrat, March 3.]

Secretary Tracy and the Senate Naval Committee believe that the time has now come for constructing war-ships of sufficient power to meet the best ships of foreign navies in equal combat. Accordingly the Senate Committee has reported what is know as the Hale bill. This bill provides for eight battle-ships, two armored coast defenders, three gunboats, and five torpedo boats. This bill has recently been antagonized by a measure changing the battle-ships, to monitors. It would be unwise to build any more monitors until the Puritan, which has been altered into a barbette ship, is finished. The monitors proposed by the Senate bill must be experimental, while battle-ships of great power are already in use by foreign governments. The battle-ships of England were enabled to anchor before the fortifications of Alexandria a few years ago, and batter them in pieces. The battle-ships suffered but little damage, although several heavy Krupp guns were brought to bear from the. Egyptian forts.

It is doubtful if any monitors we might build could meet the oldest battleship of the British navy on equal terms. The best battle-ships of France are certainly superior to, any monitors we could build. The friends of the-monitor scheme propose vessels of this class merely for coast defence. But how could monitors defend the coast against well-ordered battle-ships? The best way to defend the coasts is to have heavily-armed vessels able to steam to every quarter of the globe and threaten an enemy in his stronghold.

The monitor-policy is a petty policy, and its success would burden the Navy with a lot of hulks unfit for sea service and of doubtful utility at home. For the present we are well provided with cruisers. But cruisers could not face a battle-ship, and must run away. If we are to have anything more than a wasteful show of a Navy, battle-ships must be built as quickly as possible. Our cruisers are good to train naval officers and to chase merchant-ships in case of -war, but are worthless for heavy pounding.

The Hale bill should be passed without change. Eight battle-ships, with our cruisers and remodeled monitors, would give us the nucleus of an efficient Navy.

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