The Civil War Connections Blog

loose lips……again

Loose lips…

The recent article in Scientific American concerning the Ericsson Battery was not  met with enthusiasm in the office of Commodore Smith.

This might be due to the fact that it gave details of the battery that Smith had hoped to keep secret from the Confederacy.

In his defense, the prickly engineer John Ericsson had the following to say :

In furnishing correct information to the mechanical press, I discharged a duty to your department and to the government. It was my purpose to keep silent, but my refusal to furnish particulars gave great offence, and I had no alternative but to explain the structure or permit a most erroneous statement, damaging alike to the enterprise and the navy, to go before the country. We are closely watched by hundreds, and the work has now progressed so far that many imagined they saw enough to judge of the result. It is safe to assert, that with holding correct information for another week would have brought out an injurious attack on the enterprise. At all events, I have been guided in my course by an earnest desire to serve the good cause.

Reports from points south indicated that the article was extremely well recieved at Gosport….