he Confederate iron-plated ship
destroyed two Union boats on March 8, 1862, during the Civil War.
The next day, the Union responded with the ironclad
near Hampton Roads, Virginia.
Dedicating a statue to the
President Calvin Coolidge stated, May 29, 1926:
"The Confederate ironclad ...
, began a work of destruction among 16 Federal vessels, carrying 298 guns ....
... When the ironclad
went out on the morning of MARCH 9 to complete its work of destruction it was at once surprised and challenged by this new and extraordinary naval innovation ...
... After a battle lasting four hours in which the
suffered no material damage ... the
... badly crippled, withdrew, never to venture out again ...
... The London Times
stated that the day before this battle England had 149 first-class warships.
The day after she had but two, and they were iron-plated only amidships.
Naval warfare had been revolutionized."
American Minute-Notable Events of American Significance Remembered on the Date They Occurred
In 1769, Scotsman
invented the steam engine.
In 1787, American
invented a steamboat, but it was too expensive for practical use.
invented the first successful steamboat, with a
circular wooden paddlewheel.
invented and patented a
which significantly improved steamship propulsion.
In 1839, the U.S. Navy Captain Robert Stockson invited
to come to America to design the sloop
with new steam driven twin screw propellers and smokestacks.
Launched in 1843, it won speed trials over steam paddleboats, making it
the fastest steamer afloat.
Unfortunately, during a demonstration in 1844, a faulty cannon exploded, killing the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of State, though President John Tyler was safe below deck.
Ericsson worked to create a boilerless hot air caloric engine, the first submarine boat, first self-propelled torpedo, and first torpedo boat.
He presented a design for an iron-clad armored battleship to France's Napoleon III in 1854, but he did not pursue it.
When the American Civil War began,
presented in 1861 the design for the
, based on the dimensions of a Swedish lumber raft.
continued his speech to the 5,000 people assembled to dedicate the
John Ericsson Memorial,
one block south of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, May 29, 1926:
"We assemble here today to do reverence to the memory of a great son of Sweden ...
We honor him most of all because we can truly say he was a great American."
With Sweden's Crown Prince Gustav Adolf in attendance at the dedication, President Coolidge continued, describing
is a country where existence has not been easy. Lying up under the Arctic Circle ...
... At an early period they were converted to the Christian faith and their natural independence made them early responsive to the Protestant Reformation, in which their most famous king,
Gustavus Adolphus, 'The Lion of the North,'
was one of the most militant figures in the movement for a greater religious freedom ...
... It was under this great leader that plans were first matured to establish a colony in this country for purpose of trade and in order that the native, as was set out in the charter, might be
'made more civilized and taught morality and the Christian religion ... besides the further propagation of the Holy Gospel' ...
... While it was under a new charter that
a Swedish colony
finally reached the Delaware in 1638, they never lost sight of their original purpose, but among other requests kept calling on the mother country for
ministers, Bibles, and Psalm book
Coolidge described the
"Forty-one clergymen came to America prior to 1779.
One of the historians of this early settlement asserts that these colonists laid the basis for a religious structure, built the first flour mills, the first ships, the first brickyards, and made the first roads, while they introduced horticulture and scientific forestry into this
The building of nearly 2,000 churches and nearly as many schools stands to their credit ...
Always as soon as they have provided shelter for themselves they have turned to build places of religious worship and founded institutions of higher learning with the original purpose of training clergymen and teachers ...
Reverence for religion which is the foundation of moral power
Calvin Coolidge continued on the subject of Swedes:
"Though few in number during the period of our Revolutionary War, they supported the Colonial cause and it has been said that
King Gustavus III
, writing to a friend, declared
'If I were not King I would proceed to America and offer my sword of behalf of the brave Colonies' ...
Such is the background and greatness of the Swedish people in the country of their origin and in America that gave to the world
When offered payment for designing the
, who "had a particular horror of slavery," replied to a U.S. Senator in 1882:
"Nothing could induce me to accept any remuneration from the United States for the
... It was my contribution to the glorious Union cause ... which freed 4,000,000 bondsmen."
In Battery Park, New York City, a bronze portrait of
was dedicated in 1893, and a statue in 1903, with the plaque:
"The City of New York erects this statue to the memory of a citizen whose genius has contributed to the greatness of the Republic and the progress of the world ...
was born in Langsbanshyttan, Sweden, July 31, 1803, died in New York March 8, 1889."
Considered one of the greatest mechanical engineers in history, a monument was dedicated to him in Nybroviken, Stockholm.
The United States issued a postage stamp honoring
A memorial erected to
in McGolrick Park, Brooklyn, NY, in 1939:
"Erected by the people of the State of New York to commemorate the Battle of the
March 9, 1862, and in memory of the men of the
and its designer
Coolidge concluded his tribute to
"This great mechanical genius wrote to President Lincoln offering to 'construct a vessel for the destruction of the hostile fleet in Norfolk and for scouring southern rivers and inlets of all craft protected by southern batteries.'"
explained to President Lincoln:
"Attachment to the Union alone impels me to offer my services at this frightful crisis -my life if need be- in the great cause which
has caused you to defend."
"I love this country. I love its people and its laws, and I would give my life for it."
American Minute-Notable Events of American Significance
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