War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0505 Chapter XVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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and also in turning and maneuvering in action, and I regret to inform you that her speed did not, in the judgment of Commanders Pennock and Stembel, who I appointed to make this trial, exceed 2 1/2 knots per hour by the land in an adverse current of 3 miles, making 5 1/2 miles per hour in slack-water; so slow and unwieldy in turning, and not being able to back against the current, from want of power inn her engines, that these gentleman came to the conclusion that she altogether too deficient in steam power to be considered at all available as a gunboat without a heavier engine. Under these circumstances I do not feel authorized to accept the Benton without having further direction from you, as the vessel, with her present engine, could not be handled near the rebel batteries at all effectively.

The Benton is so strong a boat, well plated, and with so large a battery, that I concur most heartily with those two gentleman in strongly recommending that a new engine and boilers be placed in her immediately.

The seven gunboats built by contract I have accepted, after an examination of the vessels and contract by Commanders Pennock and Stembel, and will commission them to-morrow, although some work yet requires to be done before they are fully completed.

I respectfully call your attention to a former letter, in which I requested instructions about the mortar boats, all of which are here; but their magazines leak badly, and I learn from Colonel Symington that but one mortar and no beds are now prepared in Pittsburgh, the mortars and beds which we originally designed for these mortar boats having been transferred to New York.

The report of Commanders Pennock and Stembel will be forwarded to-morrow.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



P. S.-Original sent yesterday by Mr. Eads.

Please telegraph me what to do in relation to and with the Benton. I have to-day telegraphed you for authority to buy a steamer and fit her up as a magazine boat for $18,000, in case we [go] down the river any distance, as the gunboats will hardly carry 100 rounds, and I am procuring 300 rounds. Lieutenant Sanford, the ordnance officer, all considers this important. Will you please telegraph me directions also in reference to this matter of the magazine boat. I have commissioned the gunboats to-day, except the Benton.


Washington, January 17, 1862.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

Commanding Department of Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo.:

GENERAL: I am instructed by the Commanding General to acknowledge the receipt of the report of the Board of Army and Navy Officers ordered by you to examine into the condition of the gun, tug, and mortar boats destined for service in the Western waters.

From the information received from the Navy Department it appears that the efficiency of a large portion of the flotilla is destroyed by the want of crews (gunners). Efforts have been made for some time past to ship the men required, but these efforts have entirely failed, and at