War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0820 COAST OF S. C.,GA.,AND MID. AND EAST FLA. Chapter XXVI.

Search Civil War Official Records

I have but 10,204. In other words, my command is much smaller and weaker than the force commanded by General Lee a year ago in this State, when the hostile force at Port Royal was of not more than half the strength of the enemy now concentrated I that vicinity.

With what resources I have I shall make the best battle I can, conscious that I have done all that I could to enlarge those resources in all practicable ways.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. T. BEAUREGARD,

General, Commanding.

CHARLESTON, March 13, 1863.

Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,

Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: In obedience to instructions from department headquarters I made an experiment with my boat torpedo to yesterday. One of the abandoned gunboats was placed at my disposal some days since, which, after loading with rubbish from the burnt district, got a draught of 6 1/2 feet at her bow. I was anxious to obtain a draught of 7 1/2 feet, but was unable to procure a vessel of that class. The torpedo-bearing boat for attacking this hulk was a light-built canoe about 20 feet long, with a spar suspended 6 feet from her keel and projecting beyond her bow 22 feet, at the extremity of which I placed the torpedo, with a charge of nearly 30 pounds of powder. It was my purpose to make the experiment at 1.30 o'clock p. m., that being the hour of high water but the delays consequent upon the want of dispatch on the part of the steamer engaged to tow the hulk in place prevented the completion of all necessary preparations until 2.30 p. m. At that hour a strong northeast wind, amounting nearly to a gale, was blowing, which, with the ebb tide, rendered it impossible for me to moor the hulk in such position as to attach the lines for striking her side. Every previous preparation having been, however, made, I deemed it proper to make a trial even at the risk of allure, and gave orders to strike the vessel in the stern. After great difficulty, owing to the roughness of the sea, I secured a line to the bow of the torpedo-boat, and after reeving it through a block secured to the hulk returned it through a block in the stern of the torpedo-boat, and thence to a row-boat. I then order the row-boat to pull away. The torpedo-boat moved with good speed to the hulk and apparently struck, but without the expected discharge. The position of the torpedo-boat, seemed to indicate that the torpedo had passed under the hulk. Leaving the boat in this position I returned to the city, and after giving the hands a recess of an hour returned to the hulk to examine into the true condition of things. I then found that the torpedo, in place of striking directly in the stern, had passed diagonally under the counter of the hulk. On withdrawing it I discovered that the torpedo had ot come in contact, and that the lead plugs containing the sensitive tubes and charges of chlorate potassa were entirely uninjured. Night fast coming on I secure the torpedo-boat to the side of the hulk so as to be safe from accident, determining to make a new trial the following morning. On this morning at 8 a. m. I returned to the hulk, accompanied by Captain Chisolm, of the general staff, and Mr. W. S. Henery, machinist, and after anchoring the hulk across the stream put on the lines and struck her about amidships. The torpedo instantly exploded, with little or no displacement of water. In about