CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA,
Navy Department, Richmond, November 30, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report to you the operations of this Department since the date of my last report, January 10, 1863.
VESSELS IN COMMISSION.
James River, under command of Flag-Officer F. Forrest:
Richmond, ironclad sloop, 4 guns, Commander R. B. Pegram.
Hampton, steam gunboat, 2 guns, First Lieutenant J. S. Maury.
Nansemond, steam gunboat, 2 guns, First Lieutenant J. H. Rochelle.
Beaufort, steam gunboat, 2 guns, First Lieutenant Wm. Sharp.
Raleigh, steam gunboat, 2 guns, Lieutenant M. T. Clark.
Schoolship Patrick Henry, 4 guns, under command of Lieutenant Wm. H. Parker.
Tender Drewry, Master L. Parrish.
Steamer Torpedo, 1 gun, Lieutenant Commanding Davidson, in charge of submarine batteries.
Cape Fear River, under command of Flag-Officer W. F. Lynch:
North Carolina, ironclad sloop, 4 guns, Commander W. T. Muse.
Arctic, floating battery, 3 guns, Lieutenant C. B. Poindexter.
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 J. Rutledge.
Steam tender Juno.
In Savannah River, under command of Flag-Officer W. W. Hunter:
Savannah, ironclad sloop, 4 guns, Commander R. F. Pinkney.
Georgia, ironclad steam floating battery, 4 guns, First Lieutenant W. Gwathmey.
Isondiga, steam gunboat, 3 guns, First Lieutenant J. [S.] Kennard.
Sampson, steamer, receiving ship, 1 gun.
Mobile Harbor, under command of Admiral Franklin Buchanan:
Morgan, steam gunboat, 6 guns, First Lieutenant G. W. Harrison.
Gaines, steam gunboat, 6 guns, First Lieutenant J. W. Bennett.
Tuscaloosa, ironclad steam floating battery, 4 guns, Commander C. H. McBlair.
Huntsville, ironclad steam floating battery, 4 guns, First Lieutenant J. Myers.
Baltic, steam ram, 6 guns, First Lieutenant J. D. Johnston.
Selma, steam gunboat, 2 guns, First Lieutenant P. U. Murphey.
Dalman, receiving ship.
Missouri, ironclad steam sloop, First Lieutenant J. H. Carter.
Steam sloops Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.--These ships have been actively and successfully cruising; and apart from the value of the captures made and destroyed or ransomed, the damage inflicted upon the enemy is incalculable.
The foreign commerce of the United States, formerly carried on under their own flag, has, to a large extent, been transferred to other flags, while a great number of their finest ships are unemployed or have been sold abroad, unable, with the war risks of insurance against them, to compete with the carriers of other nations.
Copies of reports from Captain Semmes, of the Alabama, 10 guns, are herewith submitted (marked A) exhibiting the character and extent of his operations in a cruise, embracing the North and South Atlantic oceans. When last heard from the Alabama was at the Cape of Good Hope, where she had met with a cordial reception. Captain Semmes had armed and equipped the captured ship Conrad as a Confederate cruiser, called her the Tuskaluza [Tuscaloosa], and placed Lieutenant Commanding Low in command. I refer to Captain Semmes' reports for the details of his operations and especially for those of the action between the Alabama and the enemy's steam sloop Hatteras, which was sunk after a brief contest of thirteen minutes.
The steam sloop Georgia, 5 guns, Commander W. L. Maury, which left Brest in April last, has been frequently heard of through the newspapers of the enemy, and several captures made by her in the Southern Atlantic have been reported. When last heard from she was at the Cape of Good Hope, but no report from Commander Maury has reached the Department.
The steam sloop Florida, Commander J.
N. Maffitt, left Mobile on the 19th (16th) of January last, escaping
through the enemy's blockading force, and has cruised actively and successfully
in the North and South Atlantic Oceans.
The enemy's papers report many captures made by her, but no report from Commander Maffitt of his operations has reached the Department. During his cruise Commander Maffitt armed and equipped the captured ship Clarence [Tacony](*) as a Confederate cruiser and placed Lieutenant Commanding Read in command. After a brief and brilliant cruise, during which Lieutenant Read ran into the harbor of Portland and cut out the U. S. cutter Cushing, he was, with his party, captured. When last heard from the Florida was at Brest repairing.
On the 27th of May last the boiler of the steam gunboat Chattahoochee, Lieutenant Commanding J. J. Guthrie, exploded on the Chattahoochee River, killing Midshipman C. K. Mallory, Second Assistant Engineer Henry Fagan and Third Assistant Engineers E. P. Hodges and F. W. Arents; Eugene Henderson, paymaster's clerk; William Bilbro, pilot; and the following men: Joseph Hicks, Charles Douglas, E. C. Lanpher, Charles H. Berry, Ed. Conn, John Joliff, William Moore, James Thomas, J. H. Jones, J. S. Spear, L. C. Wild, M. Faircloth, and wounding others of the crew. The vessel was much injured and sunk. She has since been raised and taken to Columbus, where she is now undergoing repairs. As the engineer officers were killed, the cause of the accident could not be ascertained, but the belief of the commanding officer is that it was the result of inattention to the condition of water in the boiler.
The ironclad steam sloop Atlanta, under the command of Commander Wm. A. Webb, in the attempt to get to sea from Savannah, got aground and was thus captured by two of the enemy's monitors on the 17th of June last, in Wassaw Sound, after a short action of thirty-five minutes. Commander Webb and his officers being prisoners of war, no official report of the unfortunate occurrence has been received. I submit, however, copy of a report(†) of the circumstances of the capture as observed by him, from Lieutenant J. [S.] Kennard, C. S. Navy, who witnessed the action, which is hereto annexed (marked B). One man was killed during the action, and sixteen wounded slightly.
In an attempt to run the blockade with cargoes
of cotton on navy account, the steamers Stono and Oconee were
lost, the former in Charleston Harbor, the latter at sea.
The Stono, chased by the enemy, was stranded on the breakwater near Fort Moultrie, and the Oconee, in heavy weather, foundered. The officers and men were saved, but one of the Oconee's boats with 4 officers and 11 men was subsequently captured by the enemy.
The Federal ironclad gunboat De Kalb of 13 guns was sunk by torpedoes placed in the Yazoo River by Commander Brown, on the 13th of July. The De Kalb was the flagship of the enemy's fleet, and one of his finest vessels.
On the 6th of April, 1863, Acting Master George Andrews, C. S. Navy, with 14 men, left Mobile in a launch, and on the 12th captured at the mouth of the Mississippi River the U. S. steam transport Fox, and brought her safely into Mobile, with 23 men, the crew of the vessel, prisoners.
On the 28th of May, 1863, Acting Master James Duke left Mobile with a launch and crew and on the 9th of June boarded and captured at Pass à l'Outre the Federal steam propeller Boston, and put to sea. On the same day he captured the Federal barks Lenox and Texana, with assorted cargoes, burned them, and reached Mobile in safety with the Boston on the 11th of June, bringing the crews of the vessels, 19 men, prisoners.
On the 12th of August last Lieutenant John
Taylor Wood left Richmond in charge of a naval force composed of 60
officers and men and 4 boats, against the enemy's gunboats on the Rappahannock
and other tributaries of the Chesapeake, and on the 23d of August boarded,
simultaneously, and captured the Federal steam gunboats Satellite and Reliance
of 2 guns and 40 men each. In command of these vessels he captured three
Federal schooners, one loaded with coal and the other with anchors and
Pursued by an overwhelming force of the enemy, he brought all the vessels to Port Royal, where the steamers and vessels were stripped of everything valuable and scuttled and sunk. The engines and all other property were brought to this city. I submit copy of his report(*) herewith annexed (marked C).
The capture of these vessels, under the circumstances, was characterized by conspicuous gallantry and ability and reflects great credit upon the officers and men. Lieutenant Wood is respectfully recommended for promotion, and the promotion of Lieutenant Hoge and Midshipmen Goodwyn and Gardner is also recommended.
On the 19th of September Acting Masters J. Y. Beall and E. McGuire, in charge of a party of men, captured and destroyed four Federal schooners in the Chesapeake Bay, and brought their crews, 14 men, prisoners to this city.
On the evening of the 5th of October, Lieutenant
W. T. Glassell, in charge of the torpedo boat David, with Assistant
Engineer J. H. Tomb, Pilot Walker Cannon, and Seaman James Sullivan,
left Charleston to attempt the destruction of the enemy's ship New Ironsides.
Passing undiscovered through the enemy's fleet he was hailed by the watch as he approached the ship and, answering the hail with a shot from a musket, he dashed his boat against her and exploded the torpedo under her bilge. The fires were extinguished, and the boat was nearly swamped by the concussion and the descending water, and Lieutenant Glassell and Sullivan, supposing her to be lost, swam off and were picked up by the enemy. Engineer Tomb and Pilot Cannon succeeded in reaching Charleston with the boat.
Although Lieutenant Glassell failed to accomplish his chief object, it is believed that he inflicted serious injury upon the Ironsides, while his unsurpassed daring must be productive of an important moral influence as well upon the enemy as upon our own naval force. The annals of naval warfare record few enterprises which exhibit more strikingly than this of Lieutenant Glassell the highest qualities of a sea officer. Lieutenant Glassell and Assistant Engineer Tomb are respectfully recommended for promotion.
VESSELS COMPLETED AND UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
Ironclad steam sloop Fredericksburg, 4 guns, completed and waiting her armament.
Ironclad steam sloop Virginia, 4 guns, now receiving her machinery and armor, will soon be ready for service.
Two ironclad steam sloops under construction, now in frames.
WILMINGTON, N. C.
Ironclad steam sloop North Carolina, 4 guns, completed and in commission.
Ironclad steam sloop Raleigh, 4 guns, nearly completed, her iron armor being put on and machinery ready.
One wooden gunboat of 1 gun, for a tender to ironclads, nearly completed.
Two long cutters, to mount 1 gun each and carry 50 men, completed.
ROANOKE RIVER, N. C.
One ironclad gunboat of 2 guns has been launched and is now receiving her armor and machinery.
One ironclad floating battery, launched and ready for armor.
NEUSE RIVER, N. C.
One ironclad gunboat of 2 guns [has] been launched and now ready for her machinery and armor.
PEDEE RIVER, S. C.
One seagoing steam gunboat of 5 guns is advancing to completion, machinery ready.
CHARLESTON, S. C.
The ironclad steam sloop Charleston, 4 guns, completed and in commission.
Three ironclad steam sloops under construction, one receiving her armor and machinery, the others advancing rapidly.
The ironclad steam sloop Savannah, 4 guns, completed and commissioned.
Steam gunboat Isondiga, 3 guns, completed and in commission.
Two ironclad steam sloops of 4 guns each, ready for armor and machinery, the latter finished.
One steam gunboat of 6 guns, launched and receiving her machinery.
One ironclad steam gunboat of 6 guns, ready to launch, the armor and machinery ready and being put on.
Two ironclad steam floating batteries, Huntsville and Tuskaluza [Tuscaloosa], of 4 guns each, completed and in commission.
Ironclad steam sloop Tennessee, 4 guns, built at Selma, ready to go into commission.
Large ironclad steamship Nashville, built at Montgomery and taken to Mobile for completion, ready for her armor.
Two light-draft ironclad gunboats launched and well advanced, machinery provided.
One ironclad steam sloop, of 4 guns, on the stocks, planked up, machinery provided. These vessels were built by contract, and the contractors being unable to complete them, will be taken to Mobile and completed by the department.
One large ironclad steam sloop of 7 guns, ready for launching, machinery provided.
RED RIVER, LA.
The ironclad sloop Missouri completed.
The naval command at Drewry's Bluff, composed of seamen and marines, is in a high state of efficiency; and the river obstructions are believed to be sufficient in connection with the shore and submarine batteries to prevent the passage of the enemy's ships.
An active force is employed on submarine batteries and torpedoes.
SCHOOL-SHIP FOR MIDSHIPMEN.
The instruction of midshipmen is a subject of the greatest importance to the Navy. The naval powers of the earth are bestowing peculiar care upon the education of their officers, now more than ever demanded by the changes introduced in all the elements of naval warfare. Appointed from civil life and possessing generally but little knowledge of the duties of an officer and rarely even the vocabulary of their profession they have heretofore been sent to vessels or batteries where it is impossible for them to obtain a knowledge of its most important branches, which can be best, if not only, acquired by methodical study.
To supply the means of education as far as practicable with the resources at the command of the department the steamer Patrick Henry, without interfering with her efficiency as a vessel of war, has been fitted up and organized as a school-ship in the James River under the command of Lieutenant Commanding William H. Parker, where 50 midshipmen are now receiving instruction. The officers connected with the school are able and zealous, and the satisfactory progress already made by the several classes gives assurance that the Navy may look to this school for well-instructed and skillful officers.
ORDERS AND DETAIL.
Your attention is invited to the report of Commander Mitchell, in charge of the Office of Orders and Detail, upon whom is devolved the duty of providing fuel and equipments generally for vessels, as well as of all matters connected with the personnel of the Navy.
The difficulty of keeping up an adequate supply of coal for ships and workshops has been greatly increased by the loss of the mines near Chattanooga. Wood has been substituted to some extent for banking fires of steamers. The niter and mining bureau, in charge of this branch of the public service, is stimulating, by all means under its control, the production of coal, with fair prospects of meeting the public wants.
Cotton cordage of excellent quality has been successfully manufactured since January last at the naval rope walk of all descriptions required by the Navy, and in sufficient quantities to supply the demands of the Army, coal mines, and private parties engaged upon public work.
The total number of officers of all grades now in the service is 693, all of whom, with the exception of 21, are on duty; and the total number of enlisted persons in the service within the Confederacy is 2,250.
The legislation, designed to supply seamen, for the Navy has failed to attain this end, and attention is invited to the subject.
From the depreciation of the currency the pay of naval officers employed on other than sea duties, and consequently drawing no rations, is insufficient for the decent support of themselves and their families, and their condition demands consideration.
The report of Commander Brooke, in charge of the Office of Ordnance and Hydrography, shows in detail the operations of this branch of the service.
The Naval Ordnance Works at Richmond, Charlotte, N. C., Atlanta, Ga., and Selma, Ala., engaged in the manufacture of heavy ordnance, gun carriages, projectiles, equipments, etc., are producing satisfactory results. Uniformity of construction and a high degree of excellence are kept steadily in view. The works at Selma, purchased from private parties by the War and Navy Departments, are still unfinished but are advancing to completion as rapidly as the resources attainable will admit of. Guns have been cast of the Alabama iron; and, so far as a judgment can be formed from tests applied to a gun of 7-inch caliber, there is good reason to believe that this foundry will soon produce guns equal to any made in this country.
The powder mills at Columbia, S. C., under skillful superintendence have produced an ample supply of powder for the Navy, and the laboratory at Charlotte has met the wants of the service in another important branch.
It is gratifying to know that the means of producing heavy ordnance have so greatly increased that, if the proper amount, of skilled labor can be concentrated, there will be no difficulty in the coming year of supplying all the large guns the country may require.
The establishment of the Niter and Mining Bureau has been eminently advantageous to this branch of the public service by greatly increasing the supplies of iron and coal.
PROVISIONS AND CLOTHING.
The report of Paymaster DeBree, in charge of the Office of Provisions and Clothing, exhibits the details of this branch of the service. The expense of clothing and subsistence for the past six months has, from obvious causes, greatly exceeded that of any previous half year.
MEDICINE AND SURGERY.
The report of Surgeon Spotswood, in charge of the Office of Medicine and Surgery, shows the satisfactory provision made for the sick of the Navy and Marine Corps. Under adverse and opposing circumstances the naval hospitals and ships have been properly supplied, and the manufacture of drugs and medical stores by the Purveyor's Department is creditable to this branch of the service.
The difficulty of obtaining recruits has kept the Corps below its authorized number. It has, however, furnished the necessary guards for ships and stations and maintained, with great benefit to officers and men, a camp of instruction. Men and officers are all instructed, and excellent discipline is preserved.
I respectfully refer to the accompanying report of Colonel Beall, Commandant of the Corps.
CONSTRUCTION OF VESSELS.
The construction of the hulls of naval vessels is making good progress at Richmond, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, on the Roanoke, Pedee, Chattahoochee, and Alabama Rivers; and the manufacture of steam engines and boilers is conducted at Richmond and Columbus, Ga. The want of skilled labor is seriously felt in this as in almost every branch of mechanical labor.
The operations of the enemy at Little Rock and on the Yazoo River terminated the efforts of the department at construction at those points.
An adequate supply of iron for the armor of vessels can not be obtained, and, consequently, the construction of ironclad ships is limited. The demands of our railroads, together with the pressing wants of other branches of the public service for iron, far exceed the present productive powers of the country.
Many difficulties are encountered by those who have attempted to fit out vessels within the Confederate States under the act establishing a volunteer Navy, and such a modification of its provisions as will facilitate the outfit of vessels at places beyond the jurisdiction of the Confederate States is recommended.
Among the evils of a depreciated currency is the difficulty of obtaining exchange for the purchase of such indispensable supplies as can only be obtained from abroad. The purchase of exchange in the ordinary way has been impracticable and the department has been compelled to expend portions of its appropriations for provisions and clothing, ordnance, construction and equipment of vessels, and medical supplies in the purchase and shipment of cotton to Europe to furnish the necessary funds, thus risking the appropriations to loss, both on the outward and homeward voyage. In view of the fact that other departments of the Government are compelled to pursue the same course it is suggested that economy and efficiency might best be secured in these operations by the establishment of a bureau charged exclusively with the duty of purchasing and shipping cotton for their several accounts.
The existing allowance of 10 cents per mile for traveling expenses made with reference to gold as a standard value is, in the depreciated condition of the currency, in all cases insufficient to meet the necessary expenses of officers traveling in the execution of orders, and attention is invited to the justice and expediency of increasing the rate of the allowance or of paying their actual and necessary expenses.
Estimates of the-amounts required for expenditures under the department for six months ending June 30, 1864, are herewith submitted. It will be observed that these estimates exceed those for the six months ending December 31, 1863. The excess is caused by the necessity of adding to the general estimates to meet the high prices of labor and material consequent upon the depreciation of the currency, and an additional estimate for $2,500,000 to construct in the Confederate States four seagoing (not ironclad) steam sloop propellers.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, our obedient servant,
S. R. MALLORY,
Secretary of the Navy.
To: The PRESIDENT.
OFFICE OF ORDERS AND DETAIL,
C. S. Navy Department, Richmond, November 16, 1863.
SIR: In obedience to your instructions of the 5th ultimo I have the honor to submit the following report, together with the accompanying estimates, for all objects coming under the cognizance of this office for six months from the 1st of January next.
The general supply of coal for the Navy for the past year has been inadequate to its wants, both production and transportation being deficient.
The occupation of Chattanooga by the enemy in August last has effectually cut off the supply from the mines in that region, upon which the public works in Georgia and South Carolina and the naval vessels in the waters of those States were dependent. Meager supplies have since been sent to Charleston from this place and from the Egypt mines in North Carolina.
The product of the latter mines appears to have been greatly stimulated recently under the direction of the niter and mining bureau.
The portion allotted to the Navy, 290 tons monthly, to be delivered at Fayetteville, will probably be sufficient for its pressing wants, within the limits of that State, for steamers and for workshops, and also for Charleston, but the difficulty in obtaining transportation by the river to Wilmington, thence by railroad to Charleston and Charlotte is so great at present as to render uncertain an adequate supply for those points.
The production of coal from the mines in Alabama has been insufficient until recently; it is now represented that the quantity available for the Navy is adequate to its wants for naval vessels in the waters of, and for naval workshops located within that State, as well as for the demands at Columbus, Ga., but the transportation between Selma and Columbus is at present deficient.
The coal mines in the vicinity of this city have met the general immediate wants of the Navy at this point, and no apprehensions are now felt of a scarcity.
Limited supplies from these mines have been sent to the naval workshops in Charlotte and a small quantity to Charleston, but for the difficulty in the way of transportation the supplies would be ample.
contract, made March 29, 1863, with Mr. James Brown for the delivery of coal at Savannah and Columbus, Ga.; Charleston, S. C.; and Wilmington, N. C.; and one with Mr. W. P. Browne for the delivery of coal at Mobile, Ala., have not been executed. Various excuses have been assigned by them for their failure; in the present condition of the country it has been deemed expedient to avoid litigation or attempts to coerce the fulfillment of the contracts.
No deliveries have been made on the contract of the War and Navy Departments with the Alabama Arms Manufacturing Co.; they should have commenced in June last, and there is yet no certainty as to the time when they will begin.
Wood has been successfully substituted, in part, as fuel for the war steamers; a matter of great moment, when coal is not to be had in sufficient quantities, as is now especially the case at Charleston and Savannah.
The rope works in Petersburg, Va., have been in successful operation since January last.
The cotton cordage of all required sizes and description now manufactured at these works is fully equal to the demands for the supply of the Army, of coal mines, and of private parties for works in which the public interests are important, as well as for the Navy. The surplus is kept at Charlotte, N. C., for future use, a point at once safe and convenient for general distribution.
Without this establishment serious embarrassment would have re-suited to the public service, military as well as naval, for the want of cordage.
The total amount disbursed from April 1 (when these works came under the cognizance of this office) to October 31, 1863, for yarns, cotton, rent, wages, machinery, oil, and for all other purposes whatever, is one hundred and one thousand four hundred and ninety-four ($101,494 81/100) dollars and eighty-one cents.
The quantity of cordage manufactured from April 1 to October 31, 1863, is seventy-nine thousand one hundred and fourteen pounds (79,114 pounds); of which there has been furnished to the Army, 17,831 pounds; issued for supply of Navy, 36,874 pounds; furnished other parties, 14,156 pounds; remaining on hand, 10,253 pounds.
Experiments are being made in the use of tar in the manufacture of cotton rope, which, if successful, must greatly enhance its value as a substitute for hemp cordage, now that it can not be obtained in sufficient quantities.
If a suitable site for rope works could be obtained in the interior of North or South Carolina, convenient to coal, or with water power, it would be advantageous to remove the establishment from Petersburg, where the arrangement is inconvenient, the works being widely separated and much exposed.
The Army, through volunteering, on the breaking out of the war and by means of the conscript act since, has absorbed nearly all the seamen of the country, as well as others liable to military service; the consequence is that the naval vessels now in commission are inadequately manned, and it will be impossible to obtain crews for those now preparing for service so long as the act of Congress of the 1st May last, directing the transfer of seamen and ordinary seamen, who may volunteer from the Army for the Navy, on the application of the Secretary of the Navy, shall be practically treated as a nullity as it has been, for of the number applied for (upwards of 600) under the act, so few have been obtained that the law may be regarded, in effect, as inoperative.
Better success has resulted from recruiting at the conscript camps, under the act of October 2, 1862, though by no means commensurate with the wants of the service.
At Camp Holmes, near Raleigh, N. C., the results have been more favorable than at any of the others.
From the 10th of August to the 31st October, 1863, 172 conscripts have enlisted for the naval service at that camp.
The total number of all grades, commissioned, warranted, and appointed now in the service, amounts to 693, all of whom, except 21, are on duty.
The total number of enlisted persons now employed in the Navy within the Confederacy is 2,250, and abroad 450, making a total of 2,700.
I would respectfully represent the necessity of some legislation by Congress, for the relief of the officers and enlisted persons in the Navy, as their pay is totally inadequate to meet unavoidable expenses.
While the wages of the employees in all the mechanical departments of the Government have been advanced in a ratio somewhat approximating the increased expenses of living, no increase has been made in the pay of the officers of the Navy.
The prices of almost all articles of prime necessity have advanced from five to ten times above those ruling at ,the breaking out of the war, and, for many articles, a much greater advance has been reached, so that now the pay of the higher grades of officers, even those with small families, is insufficient for the pay of their board only; how much greater, then, must be the difficulty of living in the case of the lower grades of officers, and the families of enlisted persons. This difficulty, when the private sources of credit and the limited means of most of the officers become exhausted, must soon, unless relief be extended to them by the Government, reach the point of destitution, or of charitable dependence, a point, in fact, already reached in many instances.
I would suggest that the following measures be proposed to Congress:
First. That a ration be allowed to all commissioned and warranted officers, on any duty, as is now allowed by law only to those attached to vessels in commission; that they be permitted to draw the said ration in kind, or commutation therefor, based upon the assessment value of the component parts of the ration as fixed by the commissioners under authority of the act of Congress of March 26, 1863, "to regulate impressments."
Second. That all persons in the Navy on duty be allowed to draw monthly from the paymaster attached to their respective commands, or from such other persons as may be designated by the department, one additional ration, or such of the component t)arts thereof as they may elect, on paying the fixed assessment value thereof, provided it be for the use of their own families.
Third. 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.
Fourth. That the pay of all persons in the navy be increased--per centum on that now established by law, when paid in Confederate currency; said increase to take effect from and after the 1st day of July last.
In any adjustment of the pay of the navy which may be recommended to Congress, I beg that the employees in the department may receive its favorable consideration, as their pay also is inadequate to their services and necessities.
The duties committed to this office, in addition to those directed by the act of Congress creating it, viz, "Equipment," embracing outfits and stores of vessels, and rope works, the supply of fuel and various incidental matters, render necessary two clerks in addition to those now allowed by law, which I recommend be authorized, and to receive such pay as is now or may be, allowed to the clerks in the department of a corresponding class.
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.
CONFEDERATE STATES NAVY DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF ORDNANCE AND HYDROGRAPHY,
Richmond, November 25, 1863.
SIR: In accordance with your orders of the 15th ultimo, I have the honor to submit estimates of the amounts required for all objects coming under the cognizance of this office for six months, from the 1st of January, 1864, with a report of the operations of the office since January, 1863, the date of the last report of my predecessor, Commander George Minor.
Under his direction Ordnance workshops had been established at Charlotte, N. C., Atlanta, Ga., Selma, Ala., and at Richmond, and in addition, private shops were employed in the manufacture (in most instances under the supervision of naval officers) of ordnance, gun carriages, projectiles, etc.
The works, in progress, but not completed, at the date of that report, have been continued with satisfactory results, and their present condition is such that, in a very short time, all the most important, as well as the greater part of articles of minor consideration pertaining to the armaments of vessels will be supplied from the naval establishments, by which uniformity of construction and excellence of workmanship, indispensable to the efficiency of ordnance will be secured.
In consequence of the judicious distribution of these establishments all within convenient distances of each other and of points to be supplied, the mineral and other resources of different sections of the country are equally drawn upon, and transportation is divided among the various railroads.
The work of equipping vessels now building, and of supplying those in commission is rendered independent of interruption by the occurrences of accidents which, under other circumstances would prove disastrous.
To obtain increased security in this respect the various establishments have been, so far as practicable and consistent with economy, rendered independent of each other, although their united resources are frequently directed to the accomplishment of a single purpose.
Under the command of Commander Page the works at Charlotte have been improved by the addition of machinery manufactured there, adapted to the construction of marine engines and other heavy work. The building in which it is placed should be extended and strengthened. The foundry facilities have been increased by the addition of flasks, patterns, and a new cupola furnace. It is recommended that the building be extended to embrace a coppersmith's shop and a room for the inspection of projectiles.
The smithery has been increased, and the building extended to receive a new steam hammer, the several parts of which are now being put together. This hammer will forge the heaviest shafting used on shipboard or the largest frigate's anchor.
The gun carriage and block shops are finished and in operation. Two coke ovens have been erected.
The laboratory continues in successful operation, although some difficulty is experienced in procuring certain materials.
For the proper preservation of stores suitable buildings should be put up. A large amount of public property is now stored in private warehouses in the town and liable to destruction by fire. The loss of these stores would be irreparable. Moreover the warehouses have changed hands, and the new proprietors design occupying them for their own purposes. No other suitable warehouses can be rented.
The Ordnance works at Atlanta, under the superintendence of Lieutenant D. P. McCorkle, have been actively engaged in the manufacture of projectiles and various articles of equipment required for the vessels at Mobile and other points. A large number of projectiles have been supplied to the Army of the West from these shops.
The works would be improved by enlarging the blacksmith's shop and adding a story to the machine shop. The lots occupied by the works are leased from five different parties; the leases expiring in May, 1865, it is desirable that arrangements should be made for their renewal or for the purchase of the property if required. The interests of the service would be advanced by providing quarters for the commanding officer and his assistants on the ground to enable them to exercise constant supervision; and similar provision would be advantageously made, when practicable, at all naval establishments of the same character.
The Ordnance works at Richmond, organized and put in operation by Lieutenant R. D. Minor, and of which he was in command until the 1st October, 1863, when he was relieved by Lieutenant A. [M.] deBree, have rendered important service. Heavy guns are rifled and banded there, a considerable portion of the requisite machinery having been constructed in the shop. A large number of gun carriages, projectiles, and ordnance stores of all kinds have been made.
Lieutenant Minor, while on ordnance duty, was untiring in his efforts to promote the efficiency of that branch of the service, and these efforts were suspended only when engaged in the performance of more brilliant service against the enemy.
At Charleston, gun carriages, projectiles, etc., have been manufactured, under the supervision of Lieutenant Van Zandt; and the office is indebted to his exertions for much information of importance, relating to observed effects of service upon guns of comparatively novel patterns. Such information is particularly valuable at this time, as, in consequence of the urgent demand for heavy guns for service, it has not been considered expedient to devote any of them to such experimental trials as would be requisite to determine with celerity the course of improvement.
The cannon foundry and rolling mill in process of construction at Selma, of which joint purchase was made by the Army and Navy, of Colonel McRae, has been wholly transferred to the Navy. Under the superintendence of Commander Catesby ap R. Jones, assisted by Lieutenant Simms, very considerable progress has been made toward the completion of these works, although great difficulties have been encountered, in consequence of the necessity of altering the plan as designed by the original proprietor. Much delay was also caused by the difficulty of constructing gun pits, the surface soil having been removed to such a depth that the lower portions of the pits were unavoidably excavated in a stratum of gravel and water.
In a recent report of work executed under his direction, Commander Jones says, "In the foundry the end walls have been completed and the roof has been braced and strengthened, the crane altered, platform for cupola and inclined plane for cupola furnace built, brass foundry fitted, and furnace built, railroad car, etc., for core oven, railroad for heavy guns, gun pit bricked, reservoir formed, air furnaces, one pulled down, two repaired and braced, sheds to cover them commenced, etc.
"In the machine shop and boring mill the roof has been braced and strengthened, the machinery for boring altered and fitted, the foundations changed and extended, tools, bits, reamers, etc., made; an elevated railroad for heavy guns and car for raising and carrying them, flasks for VII-inch and six 4-inch guns and inspecting instruments made.
"In the rolling mill, the stone foundation for one set of rolls has been made, frame for engine placed and some of the bed plates for rollers, five puddling and one heating furnace built, and stack for boiler 78 feet high.
"In the smithery the brick end walls have been completed, the roof covered and brought together, keyed, braced, and strengthened, the ventilators completed, 20 forges built, and furnaces for heating bands for guns.
"A great quantity of work has been turned out that I have not mentioned, such as castings for the rolling mill and the works, in addition to the large number for the Army that have been reported."
Experiments are now being made, under the direction of Commander Jones, to determine the best modes of treating the gun iron obtained from mines in Alabama, which have been purchased by the Government.
So far the tests applied to a gun of VII-inch caliber give very favorable results, and there is good reason to believe that guns not inferior to any made in this country will soon be supplied from that foundry.
But to reap the full benefit of the labor thus far expended in obtaining this important object it is essential that the force now employed be increased. Skilled labor can only be obtained by detailing mechanics from the Army, and when the service which may be rendered by several hundred mechanics employed in a cannon foundry in increasing the ordnance power of the Confederacy is compared with that which they could render in the field it is apparent that the interests of the country would be advanced by employing them in the foundry. The skill of the mechanic, acquired by long training and experience, is lost to the country when its possessor serves only in the field.
The deficiency of heavy ordnance has been severely felt during this war. The timely addition of a sufficient number of heavy guns would render our ports invulnerable to the attacks of the enemy's fleets, whether ironclad or not. I therefore earnestly urge the adoption of measures which shall be more effective than those now employed in increasing the force at Selma.
The powder works at Columbia, S. C., under the superintendence of Mr. P. B. Garesché have been conducted with singular skill and with commensurate results. Improvements are being made in accordance with plans proposed by Chief Engineer T. A. Jackson, which will increase the capacity of the works, and facilitate the manufacture of different kinds of powder; specially adapted to the several classes of guns now in use. Niter has been supplied as required in quantities amply sufficient for naval purposes by the niter and mining bureau.
Heretofore all heavy guns have been made at the Tredegar Works in this city, and until recently the Army was also entirely dependent on that establishment for guns suitable for coast defense. In consequence of the difficulty of procuring iron during the past winter and the occurrence of a destructive fire just as the iron was obtained in the spring, the manufacture of guns was so far suspended that during an interval of five months none was made. But these works are again in operation, and with the facilities afforded by the application of additional power the completion of a new foundry and boring mill, the number of guns produced in an equal interval will be double what it was before the fire; and they will be generally of greater power and caliber.
The want of heavy guns is severely felt, and it is gratifying to know that by a properly sustained effort the foundries and machine shops now in operation and in process of construction will, during the ensuing year, supply all the heavy ordnance required for the Army and Navy.
Lieutenant A. [M.] de Bree until ordered to relieve Lieutenant Minor in charge of the naval ordnance works on the let October, 1863, performed the duties of assistant inspector of ordnance at the Tredegar Works in the most satisfactory manner. A record has been kept of the character of metal in individual guns as determined by tests of tensile strength and density and the appearance of fracture. The samples are carefully preserved for purposes of comparison. All such observations as may serve to improve the quality of the metal or process of manufacture are also recorded. In perfecting and applying this system I have been assisted by Lieutenant de Bree and Mr. Elliott Lacey. Mr. Lacey now performs the duties of inspector and renders valuable assistance in making such computations and mathematical investigations as are required in connection with the operations of this office.
The establishment of the Mining and Niter Bureau has proved eminently advantageous to the Naval Ordnance Department, facilitating its operations by providing supplies of coal, iron, and niter to an extent not anticipated. The well-directed efforts of Colonel St. John, the chief of that bureau, have relieved this office from much embarrassment in this respect. It is, however, desirable, in view of large prospective wants and the extensive field, that the explorations and experimental researches conducted by Commander Fairfax and Professor Heinrich should be prosecuted to the extent contemplated in the instructions originally given to the commission. Much valuable information leading directly to the development of the mineral resources of the country, and an increased production of coal and iron has been obtained, as shown in the reports herewith transmitted.
The steamer Patrick Henry, without alteration
diminishing her efficiency as a vessel of war, has been fitted up as
a school-ship for midshipmen, of whom 52 are now on board receiving
instruction in the various branches of education essential to the naval
officer. The organization of the school has been perfected by Lieutenant
W. H. Parker, and it is now only necessary to complete the number of
officers contemplated in the plan of organization to ensure the most satisfactory
results. Lieutenant Parker
states that the behavior of the young gentlemen
generally has been all that he could have expected; those just appointed
are generally much further advanced and of a better class than those received
at the United States Naval Academy during his stay there.
Lieutenant Parker, who, from his high professional and scientific
acquirements, is particularly well qualified for the position of
commander and superintendent of the school-ship, has surmounted many obstacles
in carrying out the views of the department. He commends the exertions
of Lieutenants Hall and Comstock, his assistants. For further information
as to the progress of the midshipmen in their studies and the wants of
the school I refer to the accompanying report of Lieutenant Commanding
The reports of inspections of vessels in commission, as required by regulation, to determine their condition and efficiency afford evidence of discipline and skillful training of their crews.
Measures have been taken to provide printed ordnance instructions for the Navy. They are much needed, indeed, indispensable to the maintenance of an uniform system of instruction in all that relates to the preparation of ships for battle and the proper handling of their guns.
In view of the importance of experimental practice to determine powers of guns of new patterns, and testing carriages, projectiles, powder, etc., I recommend that an experimental battery be established at some suitable point, and that a rifle and smoothbore gun of large calibers be devoted to that purpose. The information which may be thus acquired will increase the efficiency of guns in service. The battery may be so placed as to aid, if occasion arise, in the defence of the locality.
The continually advancing prices of the necessaries of life demand either a corresponding increase of the wages of employees or that the Government take measures to supply such necessaries at lower rates than those governing the markets. An increase, of wages would probably afford only temporary relief, and the purchase of supplies by the department independently of the Army commissariat would tend by competition still further to raise the prices of provisions, clothing, etc. The latter difficulty may be obviated by cooperation.
But this alone would not be sufficient. Rents have also proportionately advanced. I therefore suggest that, when practicable, tenements similar to those erected in permanent camps, should be provided for the accommodation of employees in the vicinity of the works at which they are engaged. A very moderate rent would compensate for the expense of construction. I recommend also that the compensation of clerks, draftsmen, ---- ---- employed in this office be increased, their present compensation being entirely inadequate to their support.
For the preparation and preservation of ordnance stores a site has been leased near the city of Richmond, a magazine built upon it, in which powder is now stored, and a shell house, storehouse, and laboratory are nearly completed.
As the duties pertaining to this office involve considerable correspondence, and the business of the various ordnance establishments necessarily demands attention, while the subject of the construction of ordnance differing materially in character from that employed before the war requires careful and constant consideration, it is suggested that the numerous novelties proposed to the department as applicable to purposes of warfare would be advantageously referred for examination to officers or boards of officers who could devote sufficient time for their examination without interference with other duties.
With a view to future usefulness it would be advisable to employ a considerable number of apprentices in the different Government shops. The training of our own people in the mechanic arts, particularly those which relate to the working of metals, would tend, in a great measure, to diminish the number of foreign mechanics who will, when the war ends, enter the country in large numbers.
I have the honor to be very respectfully, your obedient servant.
JOHN M. BROOKE,
Commander, in charge Ordnance and Hydrography.
To: Hon. S. R. MALLORY,