COMMUNICATED TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, JUNE 11, 1812.
The Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy, to whom was referred the petition of Edward Clark, with the papers accompanying, ask leave to report as follows:
Mr. Clark proposes to construct a floating battery, which is to be rendered buoyant by "empty vessels—puncheons for instance, encased within large chests of timber, open at the bottom; to be anchored at any point, and fitted for the reception of any fort; to be constructed of materials cheap, and easily put together."
The principle on which this species of float is founded is a correct principle in natural philosophy. The doctrine of "specific gravities" establishes the feasibility of constructing, on Mr. Clark's plan, a float adequate to supporting a formidable battery. Although this construction is philosophical and ingenious, it appears subject to two objections:
1st. The liability of the buoyant power to destruction by cannon shot. The disability of a single cask of the capacity of one hundred and twenty-five gallons induces a diminution of the buoyant power equivalent to one half ton.
2d. The liability of the casks (in salt water) to injury from worms.
Improvements on the plan might diminish the force of these objections; but it is doubted whether it is susceptible of such improvement as will render it preferable to a float constructed wholly of light wood. All of which is respectfully submitted by
June 8, 1812.