War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0628 OPERATION IN W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., AND LA. Chapter XVI.

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they did, and yet I doubt whether any other establishment in new Orleans, with their other engagements, could have completed it earlier than they did. I have mentioned the case of Mr. Clarke, a first-rate business man, who was delayed in making our side shafts some two months beyond the time he calculated. Leeds & Co., on February 18, agreed to make the iron rudder for the Mississippi; it was not completed on April 25. I doubt whether they or any other similar establishment in New Orleans performed any important contract within the time completed when they undertook it. I mention these facts to show that the difficulties encountered by these establishments were common to all.

Question. How many working days were lost from the commencement of the Mississippi to the passage of the forts, including Sundays at lost days?

Answer. Not one working day was lost except that already referred to, when the men were called out to military parade by the governor, and this was done against my personal request that they should be allowed to go on with the work. There were some rainy days, when the men could not work outside, but work was continued in the shops and under the sheds. I do not remember how many Sundays we worked, but, as a general rule, we worked every Sunday when we thought it necessary to forward the work. We also worked nights in the shops when necessary and we could get hands for the purpose.

Question. In how many days would the Mississippi have been completed, beyond all doubt, had not the city fallen?

Answer. In my opinion two weeks as the extreme. I know that some other men entertain a very different opinion, but it will be found on examination that they have formed their opinion without a sufficient knowledge of the particulars necessary to her completion. All the iron below the deck line was on; the iron for the upper works had all been cut, fitted, and assorted to its place. About one-third of it had been put on within two days, and the opinion of the workman in charge was that the remainder could be put on and bolted in six days. In less than that time the machinery could have been connected ready for steam, and the point doors, which were completed and hinged, put in place, and the rudder hung. The dock for putting in the side propeller shafts was completed and launched. The shafts had been completed and the propellers fitted to them, and the side bearings were completed ready to be bolted up. I suppose that ten days would be a full allowance for this work. We had men enough, including a large force of negroes, which we worked as a night gang, to handle iron plating and other labor, to carry on all the departments of the work together, and it could have been done without interference with each other. It will be seen, therefore, that in fixing the time of completion at two weeks I have allowed four days to cover contingencies.

I know that the public mind has been prejudiced against my brother and myself by unfounded rumors and mistaken reports, but I state, without fear of contradiction by those who know the facts, that our best energies of mind and body were devoted to this work from the beginning to the end, and tat we accomplished all that it was possible for us or for any other persons, with the means at our command, to do; and in this connection it is proper to state that the Secretary of the Navy, under whose orders we were acting, furnished us with all the means and facilities in his power, with repeated instructions to spare neither money nor men to forward the work, and that we obeyed the order in letter and spirit.

The court adjourned to meet at 11 a. m. to-morrow.

RICHMOND, VA., June 13, 1863.

The court met pursuant to adjournment.

Present, all the members of the court, the judge-advocate, and Major General M. Lovell.

the proceedings of yesterday were then read over.

The judge-advocate then read to the court, prepared according to its directions, the following letter:

RICHMOND, VA., June 13, 1863.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: I have advised the court that it has in law the right to summon before it any member of the Cabinet whose testimony may be deemed important; but it is to be borne in mind that the court exercises its functions for the information of the President,