proposes to replace her with a new transport with good machinery in every way suited for harbor transportation. She will be ready for service in about one month; capacity, 1,000 men. I shall not permit the Clinch to run the blockade unless overruled by higher authority, if when completed it is needed for harbor transportation. The capacity of the different steamers herein given is what is reported to me as the registered maximum capacity. For actual service practically a deduction of at least one-third should be made.
When the Randolph and Mary Francis are repaired, no further transportation will be needed for Fort Sumter. There are in the engineer department here 100 pontoons, 22 by 8 feet, with oars, which may be used for transporting troops and material. When the other boats herein named are thoroughly repaired, they will suffice for ordinary harbor transportation. But nearly all of them are now and have for some time been in such wretched condition that they could not be relied on. In my opinion, the efficient defensive operations here demand that there should be five or six thoroughly good and reliable steam-boats capable of transporting from 700 to 1,000 men, in addition to those now here. I have made no mention of a few small boats and barges employed in the harbor. I will add that blockade steamers are frequently in this harbor, and in a pressing emergency I am sure the owners of any that may be here would not hesitate to permit me to use them; if they should refuse, I would not hesitate to impress them. I know of no means in the harbor "belonging to other departments" which might be made available for harbor transportation. I suggest that the Navy Department be asked to give information on that point. Nor do I know of any "means which may have existed" here for that purpose that have been diverted by running the blockade. I know of no boat used as a Government transport in this harbor that has been allowed to run the blockade.
One serious obstacle in the way of the efficient working of the transportation department results from the fact that the steamers used are owned and run by private parties, who, from cupidity and timidity, are reluctant to carry them where they are exposed to fire. The transports now in use are generally so defective that an engineer or any employe who knows anything of machinery may damage, and it is believed frequently have damaged, the boiler or machinery just enough to prevent the use of the boat when most needed. This may be remedied by placing picked men, under competent officers, to work the boats. Many such men were taken from that duty here and sent to Virginia will their regiments in May last, which seriously embarrassed the transportation service. I have asked that they be relieved, but my application has not been granted.
In reply to the last inquiry of your letter, I cannot give the specific information which I understand you to desire. It is unquestionably true that rumor has to a very great extent attributed to officers in position here an interest incompatible with their official positions in speculations connected with blockade-running. These rumors have been recently investigated by Lieutenant-Colonel McLean, on special inspection duty for the Quartermaster's Department, so far as that department is concerned, aided by inspector-general of this department and all papers in my office for which he thought proper to call. I refer to his report for information on that point.
40 R R-VOL XXXV, PT II