3 pages, 4to, fine." />
9 June 2004
PORTER, David D. (1813-1891), Admiral, U. S. N. Autograph letter signed ("David D. Porter") to John A. Dahlgren, U.S.S. Powhatan off Pensacola, 22 May 1861. 3 pages, 4to, fine.
PORTER ENTHUSIASTICALLY TESTS DAHLGREN'S NEW NAVAL HOWITZER: "AS TO THE LITTLE POP GUNS OF 32 POUNDERS I WOULD MAKE THEM A PRESENT TO THE SECESSIONISTS."
WRITING ABOARD THE POWHATAN, PORTER RAVES ABOUT A NEW RIFLED CANNON. "I have just been practising with one of your little brass rifled boat Howitzers, and it has given me a disgust for all other kinds of guns....The Brooklyn and Sabine both fired at the target, but failed to reach it by a good distance. The Sabines did at least put a solid shot over it about 100 yards. Only one of our shot (or shell) went over it and that was the last one. I then tried the rifled gun with one pound of powder. The shot ranged 600 yards beyond the target making 3920 yards." Porter thought such powerful range would sacrifice accuracy. "I fired at the target not expecting to hit it of course. The shot all fell close to it and would have hit the hull of a sloop of war every time. I have come to the conclusion that a small steamer armed with 24 pounder rifled guns would whip this entire squadron. Does not this instruct us to make rifled cannon the chief armament of our ships?...As to the little pop guns of 32 pounders I would make them a present to the secessionists." Porter's ship played a somewhat confused part in the secession crisis before Fort Sumter. Lincoln had wanted it to go with the relief expedition to Sumter, but contradictory orders from Lincoln and Seward had Porter sail from New York to Fort Pickens instead.
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