War of the Rebellion: Serial 106 Page 0096 OPERATIONS ON THE PACIFIC COAST. Chapter LXII.

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companies of the Third Infantry California Volunteers (Connor's regiment), preparatory to their movmeent int he direction of Salt Lake. The Washington Territory regiment, Colonel Steinberger, is doing well. Six full companies have been raised here; five of them are now in the District of Oregon, and the sixth will go up on the next steamer. I have never received any special instructions as to the disposition of the forces I designated for the protection of the Overland Mail Route, bute I have assumed it as a matter of course that the route between this and Salt Lake City came under my special supervision, and have acted accordingly.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. WRIGHT,

Brigadier-General, U. S. Army, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF OREGON,

Fort Vancouver, Wash. Ter., September 1, 1862.

Honorable GIDEON WELLES,

Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I desire to commend to your attention the importance of having built for the Columbia River an iron-clad vessel of the character of the Monitor. If it is true that your Department is having one built in San Francisco, I trust that you will certainly have anohter constructed for this quarter. It should not draw more than twelve or fourteen feet of water. Not a dollar has ever been expended for fortifications, either permanent or temporary, on this river. They will be the work of time, and no doubt will not be neglected. In the meantime one or two monitors here would be an urgent necessity on the breaking out of foreign war. On the Puget Sound as well as one in this river would be desirable. There is near us at Esquimault Harbor, on Vancouver Island, a naval depot of the British Government, where several war vessels are always located. On account of the excellence of the harbor, admitting vessels of the largest draft, the climate very salubrious and inviting, being much assimilated to that of England, there is no doubt that the day will come when Esquimault Harbor will be the favorite post of the Pacific Squadron of the British Navy. These considerations cannot be overlooked in all the preparations we may make for a period of foreign w ar. This region is the most remote, the most exposed, and therefore in some respects the most vulnerable of our whole sea-board. I need not call your attention to the increasing importance of Oregon and Washington Territory, where the frequent discovery of new gold fields is leading to constant accessions to the population and to the commerce of the Columbia River. These discoveries will make the country more inviting to an enemy, and doubltess impose additional motives for the Government to provide adquate defenses. I do not know that you need any further action of Congress to secure the object mentioned in this communication. But if it is needed, I desire respectfully to urge upon your Department the propriety of obtaining such action at the earliest opportunity.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. ALVORD,

Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding District.