War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0630 OPERATIONS IN W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., AND LA. Chapter XVI.

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defense and fall of New Orleans, is engaged in taking testimony, formally, as to the official conduct of the Navy Department and that of all its officers, civil and military, in any way connected with its operations in New Orleans and on the Mississippi River, embracing within the field of its inquiry the manner in which this department transmitted funds from Richmond, how it met its expenditures, its correspondence with its subordinates, the constructions and equipment of vessels, &c.

A court of inquiry is a tribunal whose results necessarily shape public opinion, and obvious justice demands that if this court could properly enter upon such investigation at all, the parties whose conduct is to be inquired of, and whose fame may be disparaged by its results, should have notice of its purpose and opportunity for explanation and defense. I will not dwell upon the evils which may follow a precedent thus established of subjecting the conduct of one Department of the Government and its officers to the formal inquiry of the officers of a different department, and this, too, without notice; but I cannot refrain from saying that, in my judgment, the proceeding is illegal and is fraught with mischief to both branches of the military service. The naval officer in command afloat at New Orleans has ben subjected to a court of inquiry formed of his peers, and the entire operations of the department connected with the defense of New Orleans have been investigated by a committee of congress, and the testimony in both cases is of record. I respectfully submit these facts to your attention s the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.,


Secretary of the Navy.

JUNE 9, 1863.

Respectfully referred to the Adjutant and Inspector General, that proper notice may ne given to the court.


Examination of NELSON TIFT resumed.

Cross-examination by Major General M. LOVELL:

Question. Did you suppose when you laid the keel of the Mississippi, in October, 1861, that it would take so long a time to get her ready?

Answer. We did not suppose that it would take so long a time to get her ready. We could not anticipate the many difficulties we had to encounter. We thought then that we could get her ready in about four months.

Question. If the machinery had been finished in proper time would the other work on the vessel have been for it?

Answer. The wood work would have been ready, but the iron plating would not have been.

By the COURT:

Question. Have you or your brother ever received any compensation from the Government for your services as agents for the construction of the Mississippi?

Answer. None whatever; nor would we have received any had it been tendered.

Question. When you made the contract for machinery with Jackson & Co., how did the number of workmen they could usefully employ in their shops compare with the number in Leeds & Co.'s establishment?

Answer. I do not know the relative capacity of the two establishment as to the number of workmen they could employ on other work. Leeds & Co.'s was certainly much the larger, but as to their capacity for work on the machinery of the Mississippi, I think they were equal.

Upon application of Messrs. A. F. & N. Tift to inspect the testimony of Surg. D. W. Brickell, who appeared before the court as a witness, no member of the court objecting thereto, it was ordered that the application be granted.

It was then order that H. L. Coll be employed as a clerk to aid the judge-advocate, his compensation to begin from the 12th instant.

the court adjourned to meet at 11 a. m. to-morrow, the 16th instant.