War of the Rebellion: Serial 109 Page 1043 Chapter LXIII. CORESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

to his instructions called upon me for such aid. In a matter of so great importance, and iin which the exercise of the power of impess meant will endanger every vessel now carrying cotton for the Government, I respectfully request posittive orders to impress in case the owners refuse or are unable to spare the ccoal. I make this request especially because I have suggested already that a shipload of coal shoulld be brought in for the purpose required. To force these vessels to take the very poor coal which is procured from North Carolina will endanger every one of tthem. I know this not only from the loss of the Advance, the best and swiftest steamer in the trade, a loss due enetirely to the liberality of the State in supplying the Tallahassee with her English coal, and because I find the steamer Cape Fear on the river when using English coal made the trip to Smithville in one houor and forty minutes. With North Carolina coal she cannot make it under three hours and fifteen minutes. F It is of very poor quality and makes a great smoke. Permit me to suggest that it would be better in a matter of so great importance to let these vessels wait for the arrival of coal rather than endanger all the valuable steamers and cargoes now here. There is scarcely one which did not aid in supplying the Tallahassee. That vessel destroyed some thirty vessels of the enemy-all put together probably not worth a single cargo of the Atalantta. The consequence has been a very large increase of the blockading fleet. If these vessels (the Tallahassee and Edith) were men-of-war capable of contending wiith the enemy's fleet, or aiding the defense or destroying the blockade, nothing should be spared to fit tthem out. As itt is, they only increase the efficiency and vigilance of the enemy. I beg you to believe that I make these suggestions with great deference, not as questioning any action upon which the Government has decided, but because in a matter of so great importance my instructions are n; to sufficiently explicit to authorize me to decide it. I inclose an importantt communication from Mr. Seixas. In the meantime I will not permit any vessel to leave until I hear from you.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,





Wilmington, September 19, 1864.

Major General W. H. C. WHITING,

Commanding Third Military District:

GENERAL: Since my communication of the 16th, inclosing replies of the several agents of the steamers in port to my application for coal, I am informed that the low stage of the river will prevent the usual supply being obtained from Ffayetteville. Should you base any calculation, therefore, on repalcing coal borrowed from these steamers by receipts from the Deep River mine you will mislead yourselff and them, and perhaps cause a material loss of time to vessels, most of which are partly laden on Government accountt nand seveeral are exclusively employed in the importation of supplies and munitions of war. The recent loss of the Advance from the defective character of the North Carolina coal, and the increased vigilance of the enemy in blockading the port in consequence of the equipment of the Tallahassee and Edith, seem to me to be important considerations in giving steamers running the blockade every facility and advantage.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Agent, War Department.