The Civil War Connections Blog

Tag Archives: Joseph Smith

…she was launched successfully

When we last left John Worden, he had just taken command of a partially-built vessel that had no guns.  Each time guns designated for the Monitor would arrive, they would be commandeered by a vessel that was ready to fight, and so Worden waited.  By January 24, 1862, the guns were still not on board and Worden […]

the right sort of officer…

He had been imprisoned – captured by the Confederates whilst delivering secret orders concerning the relief of Fort Pickens. Recently released, he was still in poor health when the order came to take command of a curious new experimental vessel taking shape in Greenpoint. His name?  John Lorimer Worden. The 43 year old Lieutenant received […]

doing the math…

I have never been particularly good at math – but Commodore Joseph Smith apparently was. He had been counting to 100 since October 4, 1861, and by his calculations, January 12, 1862 would be the 100th day since the contract for Ericsson’s Battery had been signed.  Which, of course, meant that the strange little ironclad […]

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 […]

tell the world about it, why don’t you?

An issue of Scientific American hit the stands 150 years ago today which featured an in-depth article on the Ericsson Battery  under construction at Greenpoint, Brooklyn. John Ericsson sent the following note to Commodore Smith with a copy of the issue: I enclose the Scientific American of this date, containing an admirably clear description of […]

It’s official…….or at least 150 years ago it was…..

October 4, 1861 This Contract in two parts, made and entered into this Fourth day of October, Anno Domini One Thousand Eight hundred and Sixty-one, between J. Ericsson of the City of New York as principal, and John F. Winslow, John A. Griswold and C.S. Bushnell as sureties on the first part, and Gideon Welles, […]

It’s kinda obvious who read the instructions….

The Ironclad Board’s September 16, 1861 document continued – with their recommendations for construction:   We have made a synopsis of the propositions and specifications submitted, which we annex, and now proceed to state, in brief, the results of our decisions upon the offers presented to us. J. Ericsson, New York, page 19 – This plan […]

…zealously claiming the attention…

Report on Ironclad Vessels Navy Department Bureau of Yards and Docks,September 16, 1862 Sir: The undersigned, constituting a board appointed by your order of the 8th ultimo, proceeded to the duty assigned to them, in accordance with the first section of an act of Congress, approved 3d of August 1861, directing the Secretary of the […]

“your duty to the country…”

To John Ericsson’s surprise, when he arrived at the Navy Department on September 15, 1861, he found that not only was he not expected, but that his plan had been rejected! Cornelius Bushnell had conveniently left that bit out.  When Ericsson inquired as to the reasons for the rejection, Commodore Smith replied that because of […]

“I will go to-night!”

Bushnell immediately traveled to New York to entreat John Ericsson to come back with him to Washington DC.  Ericsson was adamant in his refusal to speak with the Navy – he was still smarting from their misplaced censure from the USS Princeton incident in 1844.  Bushnell would have to play to Ericsson’s vanity to get the […]