as I think, unjust decision of General Bragg may not be permitted to stand as a precedent in future time for the guidance of the Army, acting in concert with the Navy.
I will not presume to suggest what should be your action in the premises, but I ask-what I cannot believe it received at the hands of General Bragg-a careful and dispassionate examination of my report of Colonel Powell.
And what are the simple facts of the case? I, an officer of the Navy, of equal rank with General Bragg and co-operating with the Army, have respectfully asked the arrest and trial of a colonel under his command upon certain grave charges, and he, as I think, curtly and discourteously replies that I have no right to ask an investigation, or words to that effect.
I respectfully submit the matter to your consideration.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
V. M. RANDOLPH,
Acknowledge the receipt of the communication, and say that the Secretary earnestly desires to maintain the cordiality between the two services so necessary to the public welfare, and feels great respect for the views of so experienced and gallant an officer as Commodore Randolph; but being of opinion that a court of inquiry would acquit Lieutenant-Colonel Powell, he does not think it expedient to order such a court.
G. W. R.
[Inclosure No. 1.]
NAVAL COMMANDANT'S OFFICE,
Mobile, Ala., July 5, 1862.
SIR: I have read the elaborate report addressed to you by Lieutenant-Colonel Powell, detailing the loss of the British steamer Ann on June 29 while under the guns of Fort Morgan, and the conclusion to my mind is irresistible, upon that officer's own showing, that the loss of said vessel and cargo never would have occurred had the flag-officer of this naval station been apprised, as he ought to have been immediately by telegraph, that the Ann was aground. And permit me to ask why was the Navy kept in ignorance of the whole transaction? Let Lieutenant-Colonel Powell answer, if he can, this simple question. Is it not the duty of the officer commanding at Fort Morgan to apprise the commander of the naval forces at Mobile of the grounding of vessels off the entrance of the harbor; more especially if they have valuable cargoes on board and are liable to fall into the hands of the enemy? Whoever before heard that upon forts and garrisons devolve the duty of succoring stranded vessels, when by a word a fleet of naval steamers might easily have been brought to the rescue? But no, Lieutenant-Colonel Powell, it seems, felt so confident of his own skill and in his own ability to save the Ann and her valuable cargo as to ignore the Navy altogether. It seems not to have entered into his calculations that seamen afloat might do the work more effectually than soldiers could behind brick walls and in casemates. Perhaps it may be asked, But why was it that the vessels of the Navy, were not on the spot, ready without a telegraph from the Army to render the necessary assistance to the Ann?