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Otsego Herald

February 6, 2014

First steam warships

From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, Feb. 5, 1814

Compiled, with comments

“FULTON THE FIRST”

New-London, Jan. 3, 1814. We, the undersigned, have this day examined the model and plans of a vessel of war, submitted to us by Robert Fulton, to carry twenty-four guns, twenty-four or 32 pounders, and use red hot shot, to be propelled by steam at the rate of between four to five miles an hour, without the aid of wind or tide.

The properties of which vessel are: That without masts or sails, she can move with sufficient speed; that her machinery being guarded she cannot be crippled: that her sides are so thick as to be impenetrable to every kind of shot—and in a calm, or light breeze, she can take choice of position or distance from an enemy.

Considering the speed which the application of steam has already been given to heavy floating bodies, we have full confidence that should such a vessel move only four miles an hour, she could, under the favorable circumstances which may always be gained over enemies’ vessels in our ports, harbors, bays and sounds, be rendered more formidable to an enemy than any kind of engine hitherto invented.—

And in such case she would be equal to the destruction of one or more seventy-four [gun sailing ships], or of compelling her or them to depart from our waters. We, therefore, give it as our decided opinion, that it is among the best interests of the U. States, to carry this plan into immediate execution. (Signed) STEPHEN DECATUR, JA. JONES, J. BIDDLE.

New-York, Jan. 10, 1814. We, the subscribers, having examined the model of the above described vessel of war, to be propelled by steam, do fully concur in the above opinion of the practicability and utility of the same. (Signed) SAMUEL EVANS, O. H. PERRY, L. WARRINGTON, J. LEWIS.

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