MARCH 27TH, 1862: Secretary of War Stanton instructed Engineer Charles Ellet Jr.: "You will proceed immediately to Pittsburg, Cincinnati, and New Albany and take measures to provide steam rams for defense against ironclad vessels on the Western waters."
The next day he wired Ellet at Pittsburgh: "General [James K.] Moorhead has gone to Pittsburg to aid you and put you in communication with the committee there. The rebels have a ram at Memphis. Lose no time."
Later, Stanton described the Ellet rams to General Halleck: "They are the most powerful steamboats, with upper cabins removed, and bows filled in with heavy timber. It is not proposed to wait for putting on iron. This is the mode in which the Merrimack will be met. Can you not have something of the kind speedily prepared at St. Louis also?"
Army Ships. --Old B-R'er