The fact that the iron-clads did not fire a shot in defense of Fort Sumter and Morris Island, as stated, can hardly, I think, be regarded as the best proof of their total failure.
I suppose that Flag-Officer Tucker's reason for not firing on these occasions was understood by General Beauregard. But as the omission to do so is regarded by him as the best evidence of the total failure of the vessels, it is proper to say that the failure to fire on the occasions indicated, resulted from the judgment of the commander, and not from the total failure of the vessels. His ships were designed to fight the enemy's iron-clads, which they could only do with fair chances of success at the close range already indicated.
In view of the destruction of heavy ordnance employed at long range, the determination of Flag-Officer Tuckner not thus to use his guns, but to reserve them for the enemy's advance at close quarters, and for the work for which they were designed, may be regarded as judicious.
They are very costly, warm, uncomfortable, and baldly ventilated, and, consequently, sickly.
These objections are objections certainly, but they are objections applicable ot all iron-clads, and to those of the enemy in a far greater degree than to ours.
General Beauregard's notes are herewith returned.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. R. MALORY,
Secretary of the Navy.
JANUARY 5, 1863.
The notes on the gunboats furnished to Colonel Miles were not intended for Mr. Mallory, but to enable Mr. Miles to speak knowingly on the subject whenever discussed in Congress, and to put a stop, if possible, to the useless loss of material, time, and money wasted in their construction. A committed ought long since to have been appointed to inquire into the efficacy or uselessness of these gunboats.
G. T. BEAUREGARD.
HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, Charleston, S. C., December 31, 1863.
Major HUTSON LEE,
Chief Quartermaster, Charleston, S. C.:
MAJOR: Certain contingencies may arrive which will compel the commanding general to adopt a new line of defense, which has been determined upon as follows:
The Ashley River, from Bee'sd Ferry to the Little Lakes; thence across to Gioham's Ferry, on the Edisto River, and along that river to the South Carolina Railroad Bridge, above Branchville, and thence along as near the southern boundary line of Barnwell district as shall be determined by a close reconnaissance.
In view of the possibility of this line of defense being adopted, it is manifestly our policy to draw supplies, as far as practicable, from