Washington, May 29, 1861.
To the ADJUTANT-GENERAL:
SIR: The Department proposes to send an expedition to re-enforce Santa Rosa Island. Steamers will be immediately purchased, and one regiment of troops will be taken with the expedition.
You will prepare for signature the necessary orders.
Object of the expedition will not be known until it reaches its destination.
Washington, May 29, 1861.
Colonel J. W. RIPLEY, Chief of Ordnance:
SIR: It is reported that a battery of Whitworth guns and ammunition has been received in New York as a gift to the Government. You will take immediate steps to cause these guns-all the rifled 42-pounders prepared for Fort Pickens which may be ready in time; the 30-pounder and 10-pounder rifles now on Governor's Island; the ammunition for the above; as may 10-inch shells both for sea-coast mortars and for 10-inch columbiads, and those carriages now mounted at Fort Richmond (care being taken to provide suitable pintles for the above, so as to mount them in sand batteries on plank platforms outside the fort); materials for platforms for forty or fifty heavy guns, including all the above, and thirty 9-inch Navy guns; also all ordnance stores, materials, &c., heretofore called for for the use of Fort Pickens-to be prepared for shipment upon steamers which will be got ready by the War Department and Navy Department at the earliest moment. One hundred thousand sand bags, a complete set of heavy wheels, with slings, gins, &c., for handling the guns on Santa Rosa Island, ropes, blocks, cartridge-bags, and all the sea-coast mortars ready at the time the vessels sail from New York or Boston, will also be sent out.
It is intended to keep the destination of this expedition secret; therefore order the necessary instructions by telegraph, and do not make known their object.
Fort Pickens appears to be in danger of for want of ordnance, called for long since. Where the error lies the Department does not propose to inquire. The present duty is to deal with the question as it stands, and to spare no exertion, no resources, of the Government to put it, if possible, out of hazard.
The names of the vessels will be made known to the quartermasters, New York, as soon as engaged. Some ordnance men should, if possible, be detailed to accompany the expedition. It is proposed to put up a large number of batteries on different points of Santa Rosa Island to answer the formidable fire prepared by the rebels, to silence and destroy their batteries, if possible.
The War Department desires the benefit of any suggestion you may have to offer tending to the most speedy supply of these essentials or any other. Is it certain that there are enough 42-pounders and other shot for guns already in battery there? Is not more powder needed? If so, it should be packed in metallic cases, water-proof, and not so full as to sink if thrown overboard. The means of lighting up the island in case of attack should be provided. Timber for blindages and for battery magazines should be provided.