to-day, however. Venning's and Peterkin's companies are picketing the main and building camp-fires and rocketing at night. Will report when anything is observed.
R. S. RIPLEY,
JANUARY 27, 1864.
Captain FRANCIS D. LEE,
In charge construction of torpedo-boats, Charleston, S. C.:
CAPTAIN: I have duly received your letters of December 28, 30, 31, and of January 1, 5, 8, 9, and 15,* and have answered such as I supposed required immediate attention, but have deferred till this time writing more fully in reply to your communications for reasons stated in my letter of the 22nd instant.
You will hereafter make monthly reports of the progress of the work under your charge, giving such statements as may show the amount and character of the work already done, and your plans for the future.
Requisitions for funds or supplies, and any subjects requiring immediate action on the part of the Bureau, will be embraced in separate letters, and should not be embodied in the reports of progress made, but may of course by forwarded at any time, and will receive immediate attention. Should you need the assistance of any officer in procuring supplies, or for any other purpose, you will report the name of the officer and the description of supplies needed. Please forward also a requisition for such supplies as you may need and cannot obtain without the assistance of the Bureau.
Should you wish to import from Nassau, the requisition should be made in sufficient time to enable me to make the proper arrangements for meeting the bill, the amount of which, in sterling money, should be stated as nearly as possible.
Lieutenant Hawks being attached to the company of engineer troops at Wilmington, his temporary assignment to the duty proposed by you properly rests with General Whiting, commanding. A letter on the subject will be written to him at once from the Bureau.
Lieutenant-Colonel Sheliha, chief engineer Department of the Gulf, wrote to me on the 14th instant that steps had been taken to commence the construction of torpedo-boats at Mobile as soon as the plans had been received from you, and that a naval officer, the constructor of the iron-clad steamer Tennessee, would be the best suited to take charge of it.
Inclosed I send orders+ placing you in charge of the construction of torpedo-boats, &c. I have consulted with the Secretary of War concerning the plan suggested in your letter of the 15th instant for the organization of a body of men for service with torpedo-boats. He is opposed to a plan which will necessitate separate organizations and additional legislation, but states that a bill is now pending before Congress which, if passed, will enable him to place the service on an efficient footing.
Your telegram of the 26th instant is just received. I will endeavor to make arrangements to meet the amount you call for
*None of these letters found.