The Civil War Connections Blog

Secret work…….

John Luke Porter's original plan for an ironclad, dated June 1861 - From the Collection of The Mariners' Museum

150 years ago today, Lieutenant John Mercer Brooke, Naval Constructor John Luke Porter, and Chief Engineer William Price Williamson completed the report on Confederate homefront ironclad design. The Panel would ultimately recommend that the salvaged Merrimack be transformed into an ironclad.

Porter and Williamson had arrived in Richmond the day before, Porter bringing with him a plan for an ironclad. After much discussion with Stephen Mallory, and suggestions by Brooke, Porter set about altering his plan with all of the suggested changes while Brooke and Williamson visited Tredegar to see what equipment might be available. They also procured a room in the Navy Department where they could carry out their “secret work” as Brooke called it.