General Ripley immediately took the matter in hand, caused several heavy guns to be dismounted from the works and brought to Messrs. Eason & Co.'s founder in this city, and made on Major Childs a requisition, in pursuance of the orders already referred to, for two sets of bands for 42-pounder guns in depot. Major Childs declined to issue, inclosing me the requisition indorsed as follows:
Respectfully referred to General Beauregard to know if it is his desire to devolve any portion of my duties upon General Ripley.
The bands wanted have been waiting at Cameron's establishment for some time for the guns to be sent up. If General Ripley continues to send guns as fast as they are wanted he will accomplish all he can possibly do and not violate the reiterated orders and regulations of the Ordnance Bureau.
This paper was returned by me with the following indorsement:
The necessities of the service require that Special Orders, Numbers 229 from these headquarters shall be carried into effect.
But having called on both of said officers for a statement of the shortest time in which the rifling and banding could be done under the superintendence of each, their answers were as follows:
Messrs. Eason & Co. inform me that they can band and rifle two guns in nine days from this date, and that they can continue so as to turn out one or two guns thereafter every five or seven days if they have the bands; they can furnish the bands themselves after ten days. I believe them.
Major Childs says:
That full three weeks have heretofore been taken by Messrs. Eason & Bro. in rifling and banding 32-pounder and 42-pounder guns; but that by working at night and on Sundays and distributing the work between Eason and Cameron I hope to be able to finish one gu per week. I should state that it is only lately that Cameron & Co. have procured a lathe large enough to hold a 32-pounder.
I thereupon determined that the former should direct those important alterations, on which might depend the safety of this harbor and city.
On or about the 23rd instant Major Childs had called on me to express his objections to Orders, Numbers 229, stating that the Ordnance Department would not pay for work done at the founderies of this city not ordered through him. I then remarked that in that event I would procure the money from other sources, intending in that case to call on the city or State authorities to pay for the rifling and banding of the guns intended specially for the defense of this harbor.
On the 26th instant General Ripley again sent the same requisition to Major Childs, who reiterated positively his refusal until he had seen me. General Ripley then went to the arsenal in person, accompanied by an armed force, to compel, if necessary, obedience to Orders, Numbers 229. Major Childs having again refused to issue the bands called for, alleging that he wished to see the general commanding the department before complying with the orders he had received, General Ripley felt compelled to arrest him, and as he refused to turn over his duties to the next officer in rank (Lieutenant Fraser) General Ripley called on the latter to inform him where the bands were. They were found in a yard adjoining the arsenal and were taken possession of, the necessary invoices and receipts were furnished, and the bands transported to the founder, where the guns were awaiting them. In order, however, not to delay at this critical moment the important operations of the ordnance department the limits of Major Childs have been extended to those of the city of Charleston, and he has been authorized to attend to all the current duties of his position.