enforced before since the commencement of the war. It is not only a new but a needless vexation, and has led in some instances to the most serious inconvenience and loss. The only pretext under which it can be made is to enforce the blockade, and as against this fort it is an absurdity. A blockade is an investment of an enemy's port. Admiral Lee is blockading one of our forts by one of our gunboats-a novelty in war which is without precedent.
I protested against this proceeding at the outset as an indignity to the army and to the commander of this military department, whose headquarters are here; and I would have resisted it but for an unwillingness to present to the public the scandal of a quarrel between the Army and the Navy, when the cordial co-operation of both is needed to maintain the national interests and honor.
If the object of the blockade of the enemy's territory were promoted by the measure I would silently acquiesce in it, objectionable as it is. But no such object is gained. There is no enemy's territory to blockade within 15 miles of Fort Monroe, and the blockading squadron at Newport News and Norfolk shuts out all ingress. It does not profess to be a precaution against smuggling, and it would be useless if it did. There is a revenue vessel at Fort Monroe, commanded by a very faithful and vigilant officer. There is also a captain of the port, with competent force. These two officers examine all vessels that come to Fort Monroe, not only as to the sufficiency of their papers but as to their cargoes, opening and scrutinizing every cask and package.
The partial objections to the measure are these:
1st. It compels every vessel to come to and to send to the fort for a permit, often at great inconvenience.
2nd. It occasions delays, always vexatious in time of war, when the prompt delivery of supplies is necessary, and sometimes exceedingly annoying. The last time I visited Washington a commissary's vessel, laden with potatoes, of which we were greatly in need, was kept lying alongside of the guard boat twenty-four hours because I was not here to grant a permit. On the same day some boats laden with insurgents came out of the Rappahannock and burned the ship Alleghanian, laden with guaNumbers If the gunboat had been employed in protecting our commerce here instead of blockading the army at Fort Monroe and keeping us out of our supplies it would have deprived the enemy of a success and spared us an annoyance.
3rd. It is the source not only of annoyance but of disaster and private injury. On the night of the 21st ultimo, in the midst of a violent easterly gale and snow-storm, a schooner laden with forage for the quartermaster in attempting to enter the harbor for shelter was ordered of by the guard boat, as the captain states, because she had not a permit from me, and ran aground on the beach. She was unladen with great inconvenience, and we had there steamers employed for portions of two days to get her afloat. The actual loss to Government cannot be less than $1,000.
The officer of the gunboat, as I learn, has authority to pass vessels driven into the harbor by violent storms; but misapprehension sometimes arise and serious accidents occur in consequence. IF the gunboat were removed there would be no danger of misunderstanding and loss.
These are, briefly, some of the inconveniences and the evils of this measure. I object to it, first, as useless; a second, as inconvenient and vexatious; third, as producing public annoyance and injury; fourth, as a source of private wrong and loss; and, fifth, as an indignity to the army; and on these grounds I ask your interposition to terminate it. I inclose a map