War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0843 Chapter XXVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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7th. Bastioned fort near Bee's Ferry, as Fort Bull.

By command of Brigadier-General Gist:


Assistant Adjutant-General.

Name of forts and batteries.*

Fort southern and near extremity of new bridge, in Saint Andrew's Parish, as Fort Gladden.

Fort near and northwest of Fort Gladden, as Fort Barnes.

Battery on city side of new bridge, as Battery Gadberry.

Half-Moon Battery Numbers 1, as Battery Augustus Smith.

Half-Moon Battery Numbers 2 (north of Numbers 1), as Battery James.

CHARLESTON, March 25, 1863.

Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,

Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: The work on torpedo ram has nearly come to a stand for the want of iron. I have exhausted every private source of supply, and unless the Government come to my assistance the work must stop. The whole sponging of the boat is ready for the iron plating. The engine is in place, and the shield is finished as far as my supply of iron for bolts will permit. I have requested Commodore Ingraham to assist me, but he is unable to do so. I hope the practical demonstrations of the efficiency of torpedoes borne by vessels may remove any objections arising out of the novelty of the device and the departure from long established custom. I would respectfully suggest that if row-boats may carry torpedoes and sink large vessels with them with-out damage from their own weapons, whether larger vessels may not use them more effectually and with greater security. The naval officers of this station, after witnessing the trial in the harbor, warmly approved of and adopted this terrible weapon of offense.

In proof of it, the iron-clads, together with every available steamer and small boat in the harbor, are now being prepared for their use. One thing has been clearly and fully demonstrated and that is that vessels may be constructed impenetrable by shot and shell. There is a limit to the power of missiles; there is no limit to the means of resisting them. If six inches of wrought iron or even steel be not a sufficient protection nine inches may be, and so on to any thickness. Such is the resisting strength or iron-clads above the water-line in the rare and elastic medium of air, where comparatively little resistance is offered to the expansive force of gunpowder. But bellow the water-line, in a medium incompressible, where, consequently, the power of gunpowder becomes far more tremendous, the iron-clad vessels are undefended, for the reason that ordinary missiles cannot reach them. It is here, then, with a new weapon, that they must be attacked with hope of success; and I believe that the one satisfactory experiment with eh spar torpedo has opened to us clearly the way to the attainment of this end. I may appear visionary, but after the most thoughtful consideration of the subject am free to confess that with one powerful vessel, strongly iron-plated, modeled for great speed, and with enormous motive power, with propellers so arranged as to enable her to turn quickly, without guns of


*Not date but field with General Orders, Numbers 8, preceding.