tion with them; that you consult and communicate with nobody but General Fitz John Porter and perhaps General Franklin. I do not say these complaints are true or just, but at all events it is proper you should know of their existence. Do the commanders of corps disobey your orders in anything?
When you relieved General Hamilton of his command the other day you thereby lost the confidence of at least one of your best friends in the Senate. And here let me say, not as applicable to your personally, that Senators and Representatives speak of me in their places as they please without question, and that officers of the Army must cease addressing insulting letters to them for taking no greater liberty with them.
But to return: Are you strong enough - are you strong enough, even with my help - to set your foot upon the necks of Sumner, Heintzelman, and Keyes all at once? This is a practical and very serious question for you.
The success of your army and the cause of the country are the same, and of course I only desire the good of the cause.
U. S. FLAG-SHIP MINNESOTA,
Hampton Roads, Va., May 9, 1862.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:
SIR: Agreeably to a communication* just received from the Honorable Edwin M. Stanton, I have the honor to report that the instructions I gave yesterday to the officers commanding the several vessels detailed to open fire upon Sewell's Point were that the object of the move was to ascertain the practicability of landing a body of troops thereabouts, and to reduce the works if it could do done; that the wooden vessels should attack the principal work in enfilade, and that the Monitor, to be accompanied by the Stevens, should go up as far as the wrecks, and there operate in front. On the Merrimac's appearance outside of the wrecks, the Monitor had orders to fall back into fair channel way, and only to engage her seriously in such a position that his ship, to-gether with the merchant vessels intended for the purpose, could run her down. If an opportunity presented itself the other vessels were not to hesitate to run her down, and the Baltimore, an unarmed steamer of light draught, high speed, and with a curved bow, was kept in the direction of the Monitor expressly to throw herself across the Merrimac, either forward or aft of her plated house. But the Merrimac did not engage the Monitor, nor did she place herself where she could have been assailed by our ram vessels to any advantage, or where there was any prospect whatever of getting at her.
My instructions were necessarily verbal, and in giving them I supposed that I was carrying out your wishes in substance, if not to the letter.
The demonstration resulted in establishing the fact that the number of guns at the principal work on Sewell's Point had been essentially reduced, and is not greater now than about seventeen, and that the number of men now stationed there is comparatively quite limited.
* Not found.