War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0608 OPERATIONS IN W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., AND LA. Chapter XVI.

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made within a reasonable time, an efficient was vessel for service in the Mississippi River?

Answer. I do not think she could have been made efficient for such purposes within a reasonable time. I regarded her and entire failure.

Commander ARTHUR SINCLAIR, C. S. Navy, was next sworn and examine as a witness.


Question. State your rank in the C. S. Navy; your length of service as a naval officer, and the duty you were on in April, 1862.

Answer. I am a commander in the C. S. Navy, and held the same rank when I resigned from the Federal service. I have been forty years in the Navy, twenty of which I spent at sea. In the early of April, 1862, I was ordered by the Secretary of the Navy to New Orleans, to superintended the fitting out of the Confederate States steamer Mississippi, then on the ways, and when finished I was to take commander of her.

Question. State generally the condition of the Mississippi upon your arrival at New Orleans, your means of knowing such condition, and the length of time you deemed requisite to complete her for service.

Answer. She was on the ways at that time, and was not landed until about April 20; she was not near complete then nor at the time of her destructions. She had been ironed as high as her knuckle, but had no iron upon her flush deck, either forward or aft, at the time she was destroyed. I was daily aboard superintending her construction - often three or four times a day. A small part of the iron for her roof or shield had been laid down, but not bolted; one of three propellers was in position, the others lying upon the wharf; her rudder was just commanded; a box had been just begun to fit around the vessel (a sort of dry-dock and a very tedious and heavy piece of work), which had to be constructed to enable the remaining propellers to be shipped. A portion of her machinery was on board; her armament had not arrived; shot and shell were in process of manufacture, but only a small quantity cast; not a grain of powder was on board; her port frames had not arrived, which had to be put in before the plating was bolted down. The day the vessel was launched I borrowed from Commander Whittle, commanding the station, four old-fashioned smooth-bore 32-pounders and mounted them, and from General Lovell I borrowed 1,000 pounds of powder, and endeavored to get them ready, so that if the enemy came up I might, if possible, make some resistance with the workmen aboard, she having no crew, not a man having been shipped for her, no complement of men had been assigned; but I thought 500 men requisite for her crew. In attempting to mount these guns I found there was not a ring-bolt, or eye-bolt, nor any iron work on the ship by which a gun could have been secured. To be within bounds I have said that six or seven weeks were required to finish the vessel, but I believe it would have taken three months. In support of this opinion I may mention that I left a ship at Savannah recently which I had observed for three months; when I was ordered there the work upon her was much more advanced than that of the Mississippi, and, although she is scarcely one-fourth the size of the Mississippi, she is not yet done, though the work upon her has been prosecuted with energy.

Question. Was the work upon the Mississippi prosecuted with diligence and effect by those charged with her construction during the time that you superintended her?

Answer. The work during that time was pushed forward with great zeal, energy, and skill; all was done that could be done to finish her.

Question. As the officer supervising her construction and to command her when completed, what, if any, authority or control had you over the constructors and builders of the Mississippi?

Answer. I had no authority over them. but could and did make suggestions, which were followed. I could also have reported them to the commander of the station or the Navy Department for any dereliction of duty.

Question. Did General Lovell ever say to you that there was a probability of the enemy's fleet passing the forts, and did he ever recommend