torpedoes for the defense of the entrances here. I made many efforts for this means of defense some time ago, at least eighteen months, but unsuccessfully for want of material. The difficulties presented by the quicksands and force of the sea, and tides on inlets from the ocean, were found to be very great, and at Charleston, as I am informed, the galvanic apparatus and torpedoes proved failures. I have, however, had an interview with Captain Davidson, of the Navy, who has had charge of this means of defense on the James River, and accomplished and successful officer, and am assured that the arrangement of this means is perfectly practicable. It will be a very great addition to my power of defense, especially since the destruction of one iron-clad of our navy here, and the almost entire uselessness of the other, owing to the worms eating out her bottom, if I could put down some galvanic torpedoes as soon as possible. You are aware of my condition here; on that subject I can say no more to the Department, if, indeed, I have not already said too much. I propose that the services of Mr. R. Croley, electrician on the James, be spared to med for a time, that the Tredegar or other convenient works provide me as soon as possible with the powder tanks, and that I be authorized to procure from abroad or elsewhere as soon as possible the requisite material in the way of insulated wire, apparatus, &c., and that the Ordnance Department be directed to use every effort to aid in this. The results on the James River will justify this action, I think. If I can be aided, the question of time will be the main point, for since by the loss of the harbor of Mobile and partial occupation of that of Charleston this port is our last one. There can be little doubt that the enemy will attempt to close it, especially since we have begun to attack their commerce from this place. I hope you will not object because I so often call attention to the need of this place, but the magnitude of the interests involved camped me to use all efforts to save it that are in my power.
W. H. C. WHITING,
ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE, September 14, 1864.
Respectfully submitted to Secretary of War.
JOHN W. RIELY,
ENGINEER BUREAU, September 19, 1864.
Respectfully returned to the Adjutant and Inspector General.
Application has been made through the honorable Secretary of War to the Secretary of the Navy for the services of Mr. Croley, and General Whiting has been called on for a list of the articles required to be imported for the preparation of galvanic torpedoes in his department.
J. F. GILMER,
Major-General and Chief Engineer Bureau.