The batteries on Sullivan's Island ought to be armed and ready for action as soon as practicable.
Respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
Chief of Staff.
(Copies for information of Colonel A. J. Gonzales, chief of artillery, Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, Charleston, S. C., and for Lieutenant Colonel D. B. Harris, chief engineer, Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, Charleston, S. C.)
CHARLESTON, July 25, 1863.
Captain A. N. TOUTANT BEAUREGARD, Aide-de-Camp:
CAPTAIN: Permit me to present this communication through you to the consideration of the commanding general. It is written in consequence of my having learned yesterday that a survey was about to be held on the torpedo ram to ascertain if she was fitted to the service for which she was proposed. Without going into the subject of the merits of the vessel (a matter in which I am altogether unskilled), I would state that its frame was turned over to me by Mr. Porter, chief naval constructor, as one suited to the purpose proposed; that a board of survey, held by naval engineers at the instigation of the Secretary of the Navy, reported that the vessel would have a speed of over 6 knots, the same being nearly double that of the vessels now in commission in this harbor. I would further respectfully state that Commander Tucker, commanding naval forces afloat in this harbor, after visiting the vessel on the stocks, urged upon the Naval Department her immediate completion, and expressed the assurance that she should be far more useful than any of the iron-clads in this harbor. From every one of these, who had a far better right to know more of the matter than I could possibly pretend to, came assurances of confidence, and it was not until the vessel was placed in the dock that I heard one word of condemnation. Whether this grows out of prejudice against the use of the torpedo, and is a part of that opposition that showed itself in every variety of form during the progress of the work, I am not prepared to say. I would, however, respectfully request the commanding general to withhold his final judgment, and permit me to complete the vessel proper, placing the armor at the more vulnerable points to such extent as the vessel may be found capable of bearing.
In connection with this subject, I would respectfully state that Captain Carlin, who proposed to purchase, complete, and take charge of the ram, called at my office last evening, and submitted to my consideration a proposal made him to command the new iron-clad steamer Charleston, carrying torpedoes under cover of night against the enemy's fleet. Captain Carlin further desired my assistance in fitting and arranging the torpedoes. In this matter I have assured him of my co-operation, if it meets the approval of the commanding general.
Captain Carlin's full knowledge of the harbor, his cool courage and determination, all point to him as one peculiarly adapted to the proposed service, and I feel an abiding confidence that under his skillful management the torpedoes, so long unused, will yet accomplish something for the safety of this city.