HEADQUARTERS ALCANTRAZ ISLAND, Harbor of San Francisco, Cal., October 6, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel R. C. DRUM,
Asst. Adjt. General, Dept. of the Pacific, San Francisco, Cal.:
COLONEL: In reply to your letter of October 5 I have the honor to state that on Wedensday last I received a message from the collector of the port, through the commander of the revenue cutter Shubrick, informing me that the Shubrick was about to proceed to the wreck of the Russian corvet to render such assistance as might be necessary and requesting me during her absence to bring to all ships entering the port, in the that their character might be ascertained before being allowed to approach the city. While complying with the above request on the following day (Thursday), the officer of the day reported an armed ship towed by small boats in the direction of Raccoon Straits. On examination I discovered her as reported under theh land near Lime Point. I could distinguish a flag flying at her peak, but there being no wind the flag fell in folds, rendering it impossible to determine her nationality. The direction taken by the ship being so unusual, I deemed it my duty to bring her to and ascertain her character and the reasons for thus unusual proceeding. I therefore fired a blank charge, which apparently not attracting her attention, I directed a gun to be loaded with an empty shell and to be fired 200 or 300 yards ahead of her. This was done, after which I discovered that the ship was rounding to. Both of my boats being absent examining other ships, I was unable to send to her at the moment. While awaiting the return of my barge the ship commenced firing what I presumed to be a salute to our flag, but as he was lying broadside on I could not determine the number of guns fired, nor could I discern that the flag of the United States was flying, there being no wind and the ship entirely enveloped in the smoke of her guns. I kept my men at our gunsurn the salute the moment I should ascertain positively its nature, which I soon learned from a boatman whom informed me that the U. S. flag was flying at the masthead when she fired. I immediately returned the national salute of twenty-one guns. When I had nearly completed the salute Fort Point commenced firing. I have only to add that I shall consider it my duty to bring to any ship pursuing so unusual a course, whatever flag may be flying, unless otherwise ordered. I trust that my action may be approved by the commanding general.
I am, sir very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. A. WINDER,
Captain, Third Artillery, Commanding.
HER MAJESTY'S SHIP SUTLEJ, In Saucelito Bay, San Francisco, October 7, 1863.
His Excellency General WRIGHT,
SIR: I had the honor to receive Your Excellency's letter of the 3rd instant, in reply to mine of the 1st, informing me that a full report on the subject of the shoted gun fired from the batteries on the island of Alcatraz in the direction of Her Majesty's ship Sutley had been called for, and yesterday a copy of the report made by the commandant of the for was forwarded to me by Lieutenant-Colonel Drum, assistant adjutant-geneal. From these communications it appears that the commandant of the fort acted in accordance with his instructions, but I