CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA,
Navy Department, Richmond, April 30, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report to you the operations
of this department since the date of my last report, November 30.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
S. R. MALLORY,
Secretary of the Navy.
To: The PRESIDENT.
VESSELS IN COMMISSION.
James River. Under command of Flag Officer John K. Mitchell.
Virginia, ironclad sloop, 4 guns, flagship.
Fredericksburg, ironclad sloop, 4 guns, Commander T. R. Rootes.
Richmond, ironclad sloop, 4 guns, Commander W. A. Webb.
Hampton, steam gunboat, 2 guns, Lieutenant J. S. Maury.
Nansemond, steam gunboat, 2 guns, Lieutenant C. W. Hays.
Roanoke, steam gunboat, 2 guns, Master W. F. Shippey.
Beaufort, steam gunboat, 2 guns, Lieutenant W. P. Mason.
Drewry, steam gunboat, 1 gun, Lieutenant W. H. Wall.
Patrick Henry, steam slop, 4 guns, Lieutenant Commanding W. H. Parker, school ship for midshipman.
Torpedo, steam gunboat, 1 gun, Lieutenant Commanding J. Pembroke Jones, in charge of submarine defenses.
Inland waters of North Carolina. Under command of Commander R. F. Pinkney:
Albemarle, ironclad sloop, 2 guns, Commander J. W. Cooke.
Neuse, ironclad sloop, 2 guns, First Lieutenant B. P. Loyall.
Cape Fear River. Under command of Flag-Officer Wm. F. Lynch:
North Carolina, ironclad sloop, 4 guns, Commander W. L. Maury.
Raleigh, ironclad sloop, 4 guns, First Lieutenant J. Pembroke Jones.
Arctic, floating battery, 3 guns, First Lieutenant C. B. Poindexter.
Yadkin, steam gunboat, 1 gun, First Lieutenant W. A. Kerr.
In Charleston Harbor. Under command of Flag-Officer John R. Tucker:
Chicora, ironclad sloop, 4 guns, Commander T. T. Hunter.
Charleston, ironclad sloop. 6 guns, Commander I. N. Brown.
Palmetto State, ironclad sloop, 4 guns, First Lieutenant W. H. Ward.
In Savannah River. Under command of Flag-Officer W. W. Hunter:
Savannah, ironclad sloop, 4 guns, First Lieutenant H. H. Dalton.
Georgia, ironclad steam floating battery, 4 guns, First Lieutenant W. Gwathmey.
Isondiga, steam gunboat, 3 guns, First Lieutenant J. S. Kennard.
Sampson, steamer, 1 gun, First Lieutenant T. B. Mills.
In Mobile Harbor. Under command of Admiral Franklin Buchanan:
Tennessee, ironclad sloop, 6 guns, Commander J. D. Johnston.
Morgan, steam gunboat, 6-guns, Commander G. W. Harrison.
Gaines, steam gunboat, 6 guns, First Lieutenant J. W. Bennett.
Tuscaloosa, ironclad steam floating battery, 4 guns First Lieutenant J. Myers.
Baltic, steam ram, 6 guns, First Lieutenant C. C. Simms.
Selma, steam gunboat, 2 guns, First Lieutenant P. U. Murphey.
Huntsville, ironclad steam floating battery, 4 guns, Commander C. H. McBlair.
Red River: Missouri, ironclad steam sloop, First Lieutenant J. H. Carter.
St. Marks River, Fla.: Spray, steam gunboat, 2 guns, First Lieutenant C. W. Hays.
Steam sloop Alabama. 10 guns, Captain Raphael Semmes, last reported at Singapore, actively cruising against the enemy's commerce.
A copy of Captain Semmes' last report is submitted herewith.
Steam sloop Florida, 6 guns, First Lieutenant C. M. Morris, lately left France fully repaired, and is now cruising against enemy's commerce.
Steam sloop Georgia, 5 guns, First Lieutenant W. E. Evans, lately left France fully repaired.
Rappahannock, First Lieutenant W. P. A. Campbell, at Calais, France, undergoing repairs.
VESSELS COMPLETED AND UNDER CONSTRUCTION SINCE
MY LAST REPORT.
The steam sloops Fredericksburg and Virginia completed and now awaiting their armaments, which are nearly ready.
Two-ironclad steam sloops under construction, planked up and decks laid, and working on shields. Machinery for one completed.
Four torpedo boats under construction.
WILMINGTON, N. C.
The ironclad sloop Raleigh completed and in commission. Steam gunboat Yadkin completed and in commission. Two torpedo boats under construction.
ROANOKE AND NEUSE RIVERS.
The two ironclad vessels Albemarle and Neuse completed and in commission.
PEDEE RIVER, S. C.
One seagoing steam gunboat, been launched and machinery being put on board.
CHARLESTON, S. C.
One ironclad sloop nearly completed, armor nearly on and machinery ready.
Two ironclad sloops ready to launch, machinery completed, waiting for armor.
Two torpedo boats under construction.
Two ironclad sloops ready to launch, waiting for armor. Machinery for one going on board, and for the other nearly ready.
One steam gunboat of 6 guns nearly ready to go into commission.
One ironclad steam gunboat undergoing alterations to decrease her draft of water. Armor and machinery ready.
Steam sloop Tennessee completed, armed, and equipped for service, but unable from her great draft of water to get over Dog River Bar; arrangements are being made by constructing camels, etc., to lighten her over.
Nashville, side-wheel ram, taken out of hands of contractors, who were unable, to complete her according to contract. She is now armed and equipped for service in her present condition.
Two ironclad sloops approaching completion. These vessels were partially built by contract on the Tombigbee River, but the contractors being unable to finish them, the department took possession of and will complete them. They were launched and taken to Mobile for the purpose. The machinery is ready for them, and they are detained for armor.
One large ironclad sloop on the stocks nearly ready for launching.
The ironclad side-wheel ram under construction by contract at Selma was seriously injured in the attempt to launch her, and the contractors having exhausted their means to go on with the work, it is not deemed expedient to complete the vessel as originally designed, and such disposition will be made of her as the interests of the country seem to demand.
The general deficiency of iron is still a serious evil. Five ironclad vessels, in addition to those now afloat, might have been completed could iron plating for them have been obtained.
The plans and modes of construction of ironclad ships best calculated to combine resistance to the heaviest ordnance, with sufficient mobility and safety at sea, are receiving the attention of the naval men of the world. Recent investigations in England and France justify doubts whether the large expenditures by these powers within the last 10 years upon their heavy armored ships have not been unwisely made, and whether a very different and much smaller class of vessels can not be rendered far more formidable.
Availing ourselves as far as the resources of our country permit of their investigations, we have greatly improved in the construction of our armored vessels, and it is believed that those now being completed will justify the estimate of them by their friends.
The demand for seamen to man the vessels of the Navy has compelled the withdrawal of the seamen heretofore stationed at Drewry's Bluff and the transfer of that post to the Marine Corps.
SUBMARINE BATTERIES AND TORPEDOES.
Submarine batteries and torpedoes, which are destined to become an important element of defensive war, are employed in the defense of our rivers and harbors. Crude propositions upon this subject are frequently presented by those unacquainted with the difficulties to be overcome, and failures are consequently of almost daily occurrence. The subject is, however, engaging the attention of experienced officers and civilians, and at no distant day submarine batteries, reliably adapted to the various conditions of rapid tideways and of water, of streams subject to freshets and carrying driftwood, etc., and to purposes of attack as well as of defense will be successfully made.
SCHOOL SHIP FOR MIDSHIPMEN.
In my last report I brought to your notice that the steamship Patrick Henry had been organized as a school and practice ship for the education of midshipmen in the several essential branches of their profession.
The system of instruction conforms, as nearly as practicable, to that of the most approved naval schools, and this institution will serve as a nucleus for an establishment which the necessities of a naval service and the interests of the country will at an early day render necessary.
Under the efficient command of Lieutenant Commanding Parker, aided by zealous and competent officers, the beneficial results of the school are already visible in the progress, tone, and bearing of our midshipmen. Though but from 14 to 18 years of age, they eagerly seek every opportunity presented for engaging in hazardous enterprises, and those who are sent upon them uniformly exhibit good discipline, conduct, and courage.
The reports of the several officers in charge of Orders and Detail, Ordnance and Hydrography. Medicine and Surgery, and Provisions and Clothing, herewith submitted, give in detail the operations of their respective bureaus. The recruitment and instruction of seamen, the collection and distribution of supplies, the manufacture of heavy ordnance and ordnance stores, powder, cordage, etc., are conducted by them with energy and ability under great difficulties and embarrassments. The Naval Engine and Ordnance Works at Richmond, Charlotte, Atlanta, Selma, and Columbus are actively employed, though the want of skilled labor is severely felt, and some of them, in addition to their naval work, are aiding in renovating the rolling stock of our railroads.
The condition of the Marine Corps, its officers, matériel, and discipline, are creditable to the country. While it furnishes the necessary guards for ships and stations, detachments from it have been frequently employed in special and hazardous services, and their conduct has been uniformly distinguished for discipline, steadiness, and courage. The report of its chief, Colonel Beall, is herewith submitted.
The judicious legislation of Congress at its last session has encouraged the employment of capital in the volunteer navy, and it is hoped that the attractions of honor and profit which the service presents will induce capitalists in all parts of the Confederacy to embark in it.
The officers of the volunteer navy are examined by a board of naval officers to determine their fitness to command, and they are duly commissioned or warranted by the President; and officers and men are governed by the laws, rules, and regulations of the Navy, wear its uniform, and receive pay from the Confederacy.
The injury inflicted upon the enemy by our cruisers can hardly be overestimated. Apart from the vast amount of property actually destroyed and the amount released upon ransom bonds, Federal commercial ships, unable from the heavy risks charged upon them to compete with those of neutral character, are unemployed and laid up in most of the large commercial ports of Europe and Asia; and Captain Semmes' last report shows that in December last in the single harbor of Singapore there were nineteen.
The third and fourth sections of the "Act to provide' an Invalid Corps, passed by Congress at its last session, placed the examination, discharge, and assignment to duty of invalid officers and men of the Navy, under the direction of the Secretary of War. The interests of the Navy, it would seem, would be best advanced by placing such of the duties in question as refer to naval officers and seamen under the direction of the Secretary of the Navy.
It is recommended that the provisions as to service and bounty of the "Act to organize forces to serve during the war," passed by Congress at its last session, be extended to the Navy and the Marine Corps. I am not aware of any sufficient reason for discriminating in this respect between the two services.
OFFICE OF ORDERS AND DETAIL, C. S. NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Richmond, April 28, 1864.
SIR: In obedience to your instructions of the 15th instant, I have the honor to submit the accompanying estimate for all objects coming under the cognizance of this office for six months from the 1st July next.
The law of Congress approved 17th February, 1864, authorizing the appointment by the Navy Department of two additional clerks with a salary of $1,500 each makes no provision for the increase of compensation allowed the clerks and employees of the executive departments. The question having been submitted to the Attorney General for his opinion, and he having decided that they would not be entitled to the temporary increase of pay under the act of January 30, 1864, and it being impossible to obtain the services of competent persons to fill these positions for compensation so inadequate, the propriety of inviting the attention of Congress to this subject is also respectfully submitted.
The product of the Alabama coal mines has been increased Within the last few months so as to meet the most pressing demands of the Navy at points immediately dependent upon them. The supply of coal for this station is ample for the wants of the service. In North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia for the want of transportation the supply of coal is entirely inadequate. The naval stations in those States are supplied chiefly from the Egypt mines in North Carolina and those in the vicinity of this city. For particulars as to coal supplies I would respectfully refer you to the annual report from this office in November last; and also for the operations and financial condition of the naval Rope Works in Petersburg, which continue to meet the wants of the Army and Navy for cordage, etc., and, incidentally, to supply private establishments on which the Government depends for important fabrics.
Recruiting and transfers from the Army under a late order it is believed will furnish crews for the vessels now in commission and nearly ready for service.
A deficiency of lieutenants and younger officers continues, owing to the impossibility of obtaining persons suitably qualified. The total number of officers of all grades, commissioned, warranted, and appointed, now in the service amounts to 753, all of whom, except 26, are on duty.
The total number of enlisted persons now employed in the Navy within the Confederacy is 3,960, and abroad about 500, making a total of 4,460.
I respectfully suggest that the attention of Congress be invited to the propriety of authorizing that gallant or meritorious conduct in officers and seamen be rewarded by conferring on them decorations, or badges of merit, to be worn as a part of their uniform, and that a certain increase of the regular pay of their grade attach to each decoration or badge to be regulated at the time by the importance of the service rendered.
That decorations conferred upon commissioned and warranted officers be by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and those upon other persons in the Navy be conferred by the President. That they continue for life, unless forfeited for misconduct by sentence of court-martial, with the pay attached, whether the recipients continue in service or not.
This system for rewarding gallant or meritorious conduct, it is submitted, has the advantage of being applicable to all persons in the Navy, and, especially as it may embrace those who can not be advanced by promotion for the want of higher grades in the corps to which they belong, or because it may be to the interests of the service to continue some in the grade in which the honors may be won, as may frequently occur. This system appears to have the further advantage of avoiding the heart-burnings and the disheartening effects of mortified pride (often productive of much evil to the service) experienced by those officers over whom their juniors may be advanced by extraordinary promotion, except when the promotion is for such brilliant conduct as to admit of no question, and when it is warranted by the interests of the service, which should be the paramount consideration in any system adopted.
I respectfully renew the recommendation in my report of November last, viz: That the act of Congress "to regulate the supplies of clothing to enlisted men of the Navy during the war," approved April 30, 1863, be so amended as to include small stores as well as clothing.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. K. MITCHELL,
Commander in Charge.
To: Hon. S. R. MALLORY,
Secretary of the Navy.