ADJT. AND INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 211.
Richmond, Va., September 9, 1862.
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XXV. Brigadier General G. J. Rains will turn over his submarine defenses in James River to Lieutenant Hunter Davidson, C. S. Navy.
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By command of Secretary of War:
Richmond, Va., September 10, 1862.
Colonel J. F. GILMER,
Chief Engineer Department of Northern Virginia:
COLONEL: Inclosed I send you a communication* from the Secretary of War, directing the construction of a passage-way through the obstructions for the iron-clad steamer Richmond. I inclose you also a tracing of a drawing in my possession, showing the two upper lines of obstructions, with depths of water at ebb-tide. I have studied the question with some care, and think the opening, if made, should be on the north side of the river as near the bank as possible. The gateway may be arranged as shown below, although further study may greatly improve the idea:+
The bottom of the passage-way would of course have to be kept leveled with pierres perdues, so that the lighter when sunk would come to the low-water level. There is some difference of opinion as to the propriety of making the passage-way, and it would certainly seem of doubtful policy to send below an iron-clad vessel with an inferior single-acting engine, at least if we are to form any judgment from recent disasters. The whole question is now naturally referred to you as chief engineer of the Department of Northern Virginia. It would seem an easy matter to raise the crib of the second line of obstructions, which one is too low, to the level of low water. It is here mentioned as a matter of importance.
Very respectfully, &c.,
ALFRED L. RIVES,
Acting Chief of Engineer Bureau.
Richmond, Va., September 15, 1862.
Major-General S. G. FRENCH,
Commanding, &c., Petersburg, Va.:
GENERAL: Your letter of yesterday was received at 12 m. to-day. I handed it to the Secretary, with the remark that unless he objected I would send the regiments. He told me to use my own discretion, and handed me a letter which he received a few moments before from ----. [Original torn.] I inclose the letter with this. Colonel Daniel takes with him two of his best regiments and a fine battery. If the Second North Carolina Cavalry will be of use to you in this expedition suspend the order sending them forward until after you get back. I have directed