be sufficient for its entire completion for active service. If differences on any point existed, they related to matters affecting accommodations for offices and men on b oard the boats rather than to the power and efficiency of the boat itself, and even those idfferences seemed ultimately to harmonize. The committee, before concluding to recommend substantive and difinitive action in the adoption of the plan to the convention, to be carried into effect by the State of Virginia, esting upon her own resources, deemed it proper to wait upon the Secretary of the Navy of the Confederate States, through a sub-committee of three of its own number, to ascertainw hether the honorable the Secretary contemplated the construction and equipment of any armament of similar import; and if so, what that plan was, and within what time the flotilla could be put afloat. The sub-committee accordingly waited on him, and received from him full and, as they esteemed them to be, satsifactory replies to the inquiries submitted. The honorable Secretary stated in substance that he was very desrious of adopting some plan which might prove effective in expelling the enemy's vessels from the waters of Virginia; that for some time he had been revolving in his mind a plan, through the instrumentality of gun-boats of light draft, w hich would open our waters; that the chief difficulty was in obtaining egines suited to the boats; that he had agents at the time traversing the country in search of engines; that he expected to receive information on the subject in the course of a few days, and that he should, he hoped, before the lapse of a week, be able to submit to Congress a plan and ask for a suitable appropriation; that he could hae ready for active service in ninety or a hundred days fifty boats, to carry two guns each, provided the engines and cannon culd be obtained in time. The cost of each boat would, in his opinion, be equal to $20,000 each. He was infomred that the estimate for building each boat would, according to Captain Maury's plan, be accomplished by $10,000. He replied that he had never seen his plan.
It is proper to say that the honorable Secretary in the course of the conversation described a boat similar to that described by Captain Maury in all essential particulars. The plan of Captain Maury was then briefly described to him. It was not considered to be out of place to assure the Secretary that Virginia was ready to exert her utmost energies to make successful the general couse, and that in the very case of the contemplated flotilla it was believed that the Government at Washington, in order to make successful resistance to its combined attack, would find itself compelled to concentrate its Navy within our waters, thereby forcing it to abandon its expeditions along the sea-coast and in a great measure to raise the blockade; that the State could not but feel the deepest interest in whatever would enable her to repel hostile invasion of her territory, either by land or water; that the building of such a flotilla as was contemplated during the winter and putting it afloat in early spring would most probably save from devastation and plunder the fertile, productive, and extensive region lying between the Potomac and York Rivers as high up as our defenses on the Potomac Rivere, which country was difficutl to defend against marauding parties except through defenses afloat, and that the saving which would accrue in the preservation of property would be almost in excess of any estimate that could be placed upon it. In the preservation from the abduction of slaves alone the expenses of any such flotilla would be vastly more than indemnified; that independent of considerations of mere property, the fact that a single miserable steamer, bought up at the docks of New York by the Washington Government, with a few guns placed upon
27 R R-VOL LI, PT II