Washington, May 29, 1861.
Honorable GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy:
SIR: For increasing the defenses on Santa Rosa Island and restoring the equilibrium lost since the late completion of the Montgomery and Pensacola Railroad, which has enabled the rebels to multiply their batteries and arm them with large guns and mortars, the War Department desires the use of thirty IX-inch guns, Navy pattern, with carriages and implements complete, and as many shells as can be supplied on short notice. Understanding that you have at Portsmouth, or can have in a few days, the above number of guns, I request you to give the necessary orders for the shipment on board a steamer, to be chartered and sent there to receive them for the War Department. It is proposed to send out not less than ten large steamers, with a regiment of troops. It is important that these steamers should be each armed with three or four guns, the heavier the better, and supplied with some sailors of the Regular Navy to work the guns, under the direction of a competent naval officer on each, these sailors out there on the fleet off Santa Rosa to be ready to assist in landing or setting these guns in battery on the island of Santa Rosa. The steamers will be chartered or purchased as transports by the War Department, and their usual working crew and sailing commander, if chartered, will be furnished by the owners under the charter-party.
As late advice from Fort Pickens show that some error has been committed which has left the fort insufficiently provided with ammunition and guns to resist a bombardment daily threatened, all this should be executed with the greatest speed and secrecy. The destination of the vessel and the character of here cargo should be kept secret to all but those to whom it is necessary to make them known, in order to the speedy preparation of the expedition.
These vessels will carry, also, a number of Army 10-inch guns and of Army shells, mortars, &c., and it is hoped a battery of Whitworth rifled guns and some rifled 42-pounders. Heavy boats for landing the guns will be needed. If a suitable crew can be furnished and carried out by any naval vessel going to Fort Pickets, it will much facilitate the landing of the guns and carriages. The next best means will be probably to send out paddle-box boats of large size. In this the War Department will depend upon the co-operation of the Navy, which is earnestly invited to secure the holding of Fort Pickens, whose military and political importance just now cannot be exaggerated.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Washington, May 30, 1861.
Colonel M. C. MEIGS, Eleventh Infantry, Washington:
SIR: You have been directed to take charge of the organization and dispatch of an expedition to sail from New York and Portsmouth under sealed orders.
You are authorized to call upon the quartermaster, commissary, and other staff departments in New York for such supplies not already ordered as may in your judgment be necessary for the object of the expedition.
You will direct Mr. Tucker, transportation agent, in regard to the