any kind, without turrets or shields, with an iron-clad deck unbroken fore to aft, with nothing about it but a shot-proof smoke-stack, I firmly believe that such a vessel, armed with torpedoes, would defy the Navy of the United States. With a speed superior to any vessel afloat carrying an armament, she could always reach the enemy, while the instant of contact must be that of destruction. I believe that a vessel of this kind built abroad, where material and labor are ample, and where consequently the work may be rapidly accomplished, would not only keep one every port now in our possession, but would so embarrass the enemy as to drive them from those ports on our coast where they now have almost undisturbed possession.
I may perhaps in this communication have pressed the matter too strongly, but so firm is my conviction of the importance of the enterprise that I am assured you will excuse my unseemly ardor.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FRANCIS D. LEE,
Captain and Engineer.
[Indorsement Numbers 1.]
HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., March 26, 1863.
The advantages of torpedo rams over iron-clad gunboats has repeatedly been called by me to the attention of the War and Navy Departments, and I fully coincide in the views expressed by Captain Lee on the importance of having a few torpedo rams of great speed built in Europe, armed, however, with one or two heavy rifled guns for defensive purposes in cases of necessity. I can but express my regret again that the one being constructed here cannot be finished at once for want of iron-plates, as I consider it much superior for offensive purposes than the two iron-clad gunboats we have now in this harbor on account of their very slow speed. I therefore respectfully refer this letter of Captain Lee to the attention of the War Department for such orders as it may think advisable in the case.
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
[Indorsement Numbers 2.]
APRIL 2, 1863.
Mr. S.: Inclose to Secretary of the Navy, with a letter inviting his attention to it and its return.*
J. A. S.,
GAINESVILLE, ALACHUA COUNTY, FLORIDA,
March 26, 1863.
[Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN, Chief of Staff]:
GENERAL: I proceeded on the 25th from Lake City to the headquarters of General Finegan, whom I found in the field a few miles from Jacksonville. The inclose map will show you roughly the surroundings of Jacksonville and position of General Finegan's camp.
*Return by Secretary of the Navy April 7.