4th. That being hard and fast aground in less than 3 fathomas water and falling tide, the port anchor was let go, the ship heading southwest, the wind westerly, and the fore main-sail, spender, forestay sail, and jib being set (see statement of chief officer), so that the ship was forced upon it, and a hole punched though her bottom.
I do not feel myself competent to examine the courses and distances had by the ship by which we were brought into this position, having only a landsman's acquaintance with navigation, but the facts above stated are too prominent to escape the most careless observation. I will call attention, however, to some of the discrepancies of your statement, both with itself and with the direct testimony of others. You say (page 15) that between 5 and 6 o'clock a. m. of the 28th February you judged yourself on the edge of the Gulf Stream. You say (page 17) that the edge of the Gulf Stream is from 30 to 40 miles from Frying Pan Shoals. You say (page 16) you were running 8 1/2 knots per hour; that at 7 o'clock a. m. you were in sight of main-land. Now the eastern point of Frying Pan Shoals is shown by the charts to be about 22 miles from the main-land. How could you get in sight of main-land within two hours, and, finding yourself so much out of your place, not have the lead until after the strip struck? Besides, you say (page 15) you id not "turn out" till between 6 and 7 o;clock. What meanest had you of judging where you were between 5 and 6 a. m.? You will observe also that was in the breakers, is expressly contradicted by at least four persons. You say there was not less than 7 fathomas at any time (page 16), while the concurrent testimony of at least four witness is that the lead showed 4 fathoms less.
These are but a small part of the discrepancies, which show to met that you mind is in such a state of confusion as to events that the lives of my men are not safe under the guidance of your nautical skill. I am forced to the conclusion, therefore, that though your neglect or incompetency the lives of 1,400 men have thrice been in peril; that the important interests of the Government in the speed of this voyage have been greatly injured audits objects much delayed, and perhaps thwarted.
After much detention we are now at anchor in Port Royal Harbor, about to again start upon our voyage. With the convictions above expressed I ought not, I cannot, permit the voyage to proceed with yourself in command of this ship.
It has been found impossible to get another to carry the troops within any reasonable time. There is but one course of duty left to me, a responsible and unpleasant one. You will therefore be placed under arrest, in your state-room, until you can be conveniently transferred to the Matanzas. You will be allowed to take from the ship with you your personal baggage only. Everything else will be left on board and a receipt will be given you for the ship, her tackle, equipment, and stores of every description; you will proceed to Ship Island on board the Matanzas.
After landing the troops there, if I determine ot terminate the charter-party, the ship and crew be again turned over to your, if the owners so desire.
Copies of the proceedings of the courts of inquiry and of this order of arrest will be sent to the owners, together with a copy of the log since we left Fortress Monroe, with a report of the voyage from the itinerary kept by my order.
I am grieved to be obliged to this action, for our personal relations