portation of supplies - a measure I consider entirely uncalled for and unwise - the order should be addressed to the Baltimore custom-house and not to General Wool. It is unnecessary to state, for you know the fact, that there is a very considerable population outside of the fort under the protection of the Government, and that there are some 3,000 colored persons here who require their little comforts. I allow a colored man to go to Baltimore occasionally and bring here supplies for these people. All these supplies necessarily obtained in small quantities would be cut off it Admiral Lee's recommendation to allow no merchandise to be brought by the mail boat were adopted.
Having disposed of this matter I deem it my duty to call the attention of the Department to what I consider an unwarrantable interference with my command by Admiral Lee. This will be best illustrated by presenting the cases in which he has detained vessels having supplies for the army or employed in services connected with it.
1st. Mr. J. B. Braham, a contractor for hides and fat with the commissary of subsistence at Suffolk, sent a vessel here from New York to receive these articles, which had been accumulating for some time, with 20 sacks of salt for their preservation. The vessel, the schooner Alexander, was cleared for this port at New York. The permit was approved by the commissary of subsistence, Major-General Peck, and myself, and the papers were found correct by the revenue officers. My approval was in these words, as will be seen by the papers:
The duty of the Government to allow the purchaser of its property to take it away is so very clear that the captain of the port will give a permit to the Alexander to go to Suffolk to receive the hides (and with the salt - 20 sacks - necessary to preserve them), subject to the approval of Admiral Lee.
Strictly, I had a right to send the vessel to her destination to perform a service connected with my department, but out of courtesy to the admiral, and with a sincere desire to maintain in all things a friendly understanding with him, I made the permit subject to his approval. It was rejected; and the contractor sent the vessel back to New York, leaving the articles he had purchased to spoil in the hands of the Government. The papers are annexed, marked A.*
2nd. The sloop A. C. Broderick was loaded at Fort Monroe with 51 bushels of wheat, 19 hides, 100 pounds of rags, 2,000 pounds of iron, and 160 bushels of oysters. The goods were owned by persons within our lines, and they were cleared, under a permit from me, for Baltimore, where they were to be subject to the custom-house inspection usual in such cases. I exercised this right as the military commander here, and insisted that the commander of the naval forces could not with propriety interfere with it. The vessel has been stopped against my remonstrance. She is still detained, and the oysters have been thrown overboard.
There are other cases in which vessels have been detained, and in several instances greatly to my annoyance, but as they have been released I do not deem it necessary to state them. But I desire to call the attention of the Department to the fact that a gunboat has been stationed below the fort for the purpose of boarding every vessel that enters the Roads, when the service could be just as well performed between this post and Newport News. It is entirely unnecessary for the purpose of the blockade of the James River and Nansemond, as all vessels coming to this post are boarded by the revenue officers who are on duty here and by the captain of the port. While the naval forces were under the command of Commodore Stringham, Admiral Golds
* Not found.