War of the Rebellion: Serial 047 Page 0503 Chapter XL. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.- CONFEDERATE.

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may be, undue delay on the part of the engineer in the laying out of the works, or from the want of tools, the commanding general will be pleased to have the fact reported for correction.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Chief of Staff.


Charleston, S. C., November 14, 1863.

Brigadier General R. S. RIPLEY,

Commanding First Military District, Mount Pleasant, S. C.:

GENERAL: So much of the letter of the 6th instant as directs you, in the event of an attempted assault on Fort Sumter by the enemy, to throw re-enforcemets into that work by row-boats, is recalled. A steamer, however, will be held in readiness nightly to proceed to Mount Pleasant to carry, say, 200 men, inc case the commanding general should deem re-enforcements necessary to drive out any force of the enemy which may have secured a lodgment.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Chief of Staff.



November 14, 1863.

Our gunboats are defective in six respect.

First. They have no speed, going only from 3 to 5 miles an hour, in smooth water and no current.

Second. They are of too great draught to navigate our inland waters.

Third. They are unseaworthy, by their shape and construction, as represented by naval officers. Even in the harbor, they are at times considered unsafe in a storm.

Fourth. They are incapable of resisting the enemy's 15-inch shots at close quarters, as shown by the Atlanta, in Warsaw Sound last spring.

Fifth. They cannot fight at long range, their guns not admitting an elevation greater than from 5 deg. to 7 deg., corresponding to 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 miles range. Even at long range, naval officers are of opinion the oblique sides and flat decks of our gunboats would not resist the plunging shots of the enemy's 200 and 300 pounders.

(The best proof of the total failure of the three iron-clad gunboats, Chicora, Plametto State, and Charleston, constructed at such cost and labor, is that, although commanded by our most gallant officers, they did not fire one shot in the defense of Fort Sumter during the naval attack of the 7th of April last, nor have they fired a shot in the defense of Morris Island and Sumter during the present siege which has lasted over four months, excepting on one occasion, the assault on Sumter during the night of September 8 last, when the Chicora forced a few shots on the enemy's boats and barges.)

Sixth. They are very costly, warm, uncomfortable, and badly ventilated, consequently sickly.


* See Miles to Beauregard, December 30, p. 594.