During the American Civil War a most effective and, to one side, most amusing practical joke was played in the James River. An old coal hulk was discovered, and some of Admiral Porter's men conceived the more brilliant idea of so converting hor outward appearance as to make her to all seeming a monitor. The hulk was built up high with boards, while funnels and turrets constructed of pork barrels reared above, and two old canoes did duty for quarter-boats. A small house taken from the back yard of a planter's dwelling stood for the pilot house. Per furnaces were built of mud and clay. They were only intended to make smoke, not steam. Then a good coat of black paint and pitch ; her furnaces were filled with pitch and other inflammable materials, and she was ready. As soon as the " dummy " turned adrift on the Mississippi came in range of tho Vicksburg batteries the alarmed garrison opened tire upon it. The black monitor glided down the stream, belching out fire and smoke, but gave not a shot in return. With amazement, the Vicksburg soldiers found they could not make the slightest impression on the turreted monster. They did not know that it was full of water, and had nat a man on board. In ominous and silent disdain she seemed to be making for the Confederate ironclads ; one of them, the Queen of the West, leaving part of her crew ashore, incontinently fled, with all steam power, making the best of her way to the Red River. The indianola, a vessel previously captured from the Northerners, was lying aground, and, not to be taken by this ruthless monster of a monitor, waß ordered to be blown up, which was accordingly done. This was the bloodless victory gained by the dummy ironclad. It is not impossible that we may hear of similar tricks in future warfare, for all is fair therein.
Permanent link to this item
Page 1 Advertisements Column 2, Evening Star, Issue 7988, 17 August 1889, Supplement
Page 1 Advertisements Column 2 Evening Star, Issue 7988, 17 August 1889, Supplement
Using This Item
Allied Press Ltd is the copyright owner for the Evening Star. You can reproduce in-copyright material from this newspaper for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons New Zealand BY-NC-SA licence. This newspaper is not available for commercial use without the consent of Allied Press Ltd. For advice on reproduction of out-of-copyright material from this newspaper, please refer to the Copyright guide.