them with our launches, to which they must strike or from which they must flee. This would make us masters of the Chesapeake. The prizes taken from the enemy in the meantime would in rought weatehr take up their position as guard-ships between the capes, while the launches would seek shelter in the neighboring coves to resist the entrance of any re-enforcements, and thus Fortress Monroe would be ours. In the meantime the way over into Maryland would be opened, and Baltimore, with all her resources, would be available to us.
If these steam-launches are to be so effective, why, it may be asked, could not the enemy meet us launch for launch? The answer is, let the State instead of the Confederacy undertake them. Being a State affair, the enemy will not paymuch attention to them. He will not know that we intended to bring them against him until they make their appearane. Then, having lost control of the Chesapeake, he will have to build his at the North. This will take time; and, moreover, he must have them stout enough to keep the sea. They must also be provided with accommodations for officers and men. They will present, therefore, larger targets than we will; consequently the advantage, even when they do make their appearance, wills till be on our side. In the meantime Old Point will have fallen, and the Norfolk Navy-Yard, as well as Baltimore, will have been brought into play. This plan may fail, it is true. The best-arranged military and naval expeditions are liable to failure. But I am to entirely unknown, and upon the success of this enterprise I am willing to risk life, reputation, everything that is dear.
It is no small matter for a military man to be reuqired to take up his plans before non-proffesional men, dissect them step by step, and show to the satisfaction of "costive" legislators that each step is to be made upon firm and sure ground, and no mistake, as I am persuaded you will admit that in this case has been done. But to say the least in its favor, all must admit that the plan looks well; that the chances of success are promising; that the ends to be reached are momentous; that the expense in comparison to the value of the results is insignificant, and that it is worth the trial. Therefore I need not add another word except to ask if I have not made out my case to your satisfaction. If we wait for the legislature to make the appropriation we lose precious time. If the convention will vote the money it will become available just about the time our Army is going into winter quarters. Thus, with the least detriment to that arm of the public service, we may withdraw from it the ship-carpenters, the engine-builders, the iron-founders, and the whole retinue of artisans concerned in the preparation of such a fleet, employ them upon this work, and push it through, really almost without cost; for if they are wintered in the Army, we, having to incur the expnese of pay and subsistence, will then be without anything to show for it in the spring but men-at-arms. These same men may build this fleet during the winter, and in the spring join their regiments refreshed by the labor.
There is another consideration which admonishes us to be quick. If with that Gibraltar of ours in the hands of the enemy he were to invite us to treat and offer terms, they would not only be in the tone of insolence, but they would be exacting in portion to the importance-aye, the absolute and vital necessity-of Fortress Monroe to Virginia. Millions would be demanded for it, and without it the war would have to be continued. There is yet another reason for dispatch. The folly of the North bids fair to involve that section in a war with England. If that power, becoming a belligerent, were to find that fortress in the