In May, 1862, shortly after contracting for the Osage and the Neosho, the Navy Department awarded contracts for four more shallowdraft monitors. These were to be double-turreted, screw driven rather than by paddle wheel, carrying four 11-inch guns. The first two were to be built by Eads, the Kickapoo by G. B. Allen and Company of St. Louis, and the Chickasaw by Thomas G. Gaylord of Cincinnati.
Eads's turret design, which he had submitted for use on the Osage and the Neosho, was now accepted by the Navy. One of the twin turrets on each ship was to be an Eads type. ( This design was quite successful and became the progenitor of many turret designs after the war. )
The turret made extensive use of steam power to elevate and depress the guns, check the recoil and return the gun to battery, and to open and close the gunports. The problem of hoisting ammunition was solved by mounting the guns on a piston, which was fitted into a vertical cylinder, permitting the guns themselves to be lowered into the hold, then loaded and raised into position. The turret, extending down into the hold, revolved on 6-inch iron spheres in a circular groove.
The general arrangement of the Winnebago class has been followed by virtually every warship since. Ericsson's obsession, the 360degree field of fire, which was so doctrinaire and limiting, was replaced with the fore-and-aft battery, with the fire control tower and the stack amidships. The decks of this class was turtlebacked, which seems also to have been an Eads trademark.
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