War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 1018 COASTS OF S. C., GA., AND MID. AND EAST FLA.Chapter XXVI.

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assuring them that such a step would involve their immediately return to military service. As I have no such control over the free negro force, I am at a loss what course to pursue. One of them, John Mushington, who has been getting $3 per day, has already left, and unless he can be forced to return, all the others will follow. It is a matter of the utmost importance to the successful prosecution of the work that some decisive step be now taken, as the number of skilled shipwrights is exceedingly limited. You would confer an especial favor, general, by taking such immediate action in this matter as you may deem advisable.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

FRANCIS D. LEE,

Captain of Engineers.

CHARLESTON, December 26, 1863.

Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,

Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: I am exceedingly anxious to commence bending the iron plating for marine torpedo ram, and if the plates in possession of the Navy Department at this place could be transferred, the progress of the work would be greatly facilitated.

The hull of the boat is now nearly compeleted, and the workmen are now engaged in caking the seams and preparing the clamps. I hope to be enabled to report the deck nearly completed by the close of the next week. The workmen sent by me to Savannah are rapidly removing the engines, and they report that everything will be ready for shipment in six days. Major Childs has undertaken the manufacture of the friction tubes at the arsenal, after a plan devised by me, which I think will insure safety and certainly.

I have collected and furnished to Messrs. Cameron & Co. a full supply of cast-iron for prow, and hope to be enabled to supply them in a few days with the necessary fire-wood to work the machinery of their establishment. The deadly in this matter has been occasioned by want of transportation on the South Carolina Railroad.

Captain [H. J.] Hartstene, C. S. Navy, has expressed to me a deep interest in the undertaking, and is desirous of assisting me in the conduct of the work. If it be possible to obtain the services of so able and distinguished an officer as Captain Hartstene, the success of the undertaking would, I am assured, be rendered more certain.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

FRANCIS D. LEE,

Captain of Engineers.

CHARLESTON, January 6, 1862 [1863].

Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,

Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report the progress of marine torpedo ram for week ending January 3, 1862 [1863].

The entire hull proper of the vessel is now completed, the interior ceiling and clamping put on, and most of the deck timbers in place. The placing of the sponsings and shield will complete the ship-carpenter's portion of the work.