War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0400 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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[Inclosure Numbers 3.]

MATTAPONY, April 26, 1861.

DEAR JOHN: I expected to leave for Baltimore to-morrow to join some active force, but upon my mentioning the subject to George he told me that he had already determined to go and that it was my imperative duty to remain here as mother is so disabled by the accident which she lately met with. In a word the matter was so presented me I who of all my family can be spared with the least loss am left here to sun myself. One argument of George's had some strength- that I could not stand the exposure. Very good; but I am told that something may be done in a week and I could last that long. To avoid the fatigues of a private's life which I admit I am little prepared for I wrote for information as to means necessary to procure a commission on the staff either as engineer to topographical engineer and for recommendations as to my capabilities to an old friend of mine, Colonel Henry Washington, of Virginia. I am sure the letter did not reach him. It would not matter now if it had reached him for time is precious. Mother now tells me that as I ma so uneasy and if I must go she will write to her brother to come on here with her. If that can be managed perhaps I can be put somewhere so as to be of use. I believe you are willing to help me; is it possible to get either of these,- staff, engineer or topographical corps, armed ship of Maryland of any Southern State, private armed vessel bearing the Confederate flag? If not, anything else? I probably would be better afloat. If Maryland raises no navy will not some one be willing out a small, strong and swift propeller carrying two (or even one) 10 or 11 inch guns upon the patent carriage- boat, guns, ammunition? As for men I believe I can get 150 in one day- seamen who will and can board; and as for working guns I can get a few who know that and the rest will soon learn. In addition to the large guns the men will require revolvers (can get them in the North), cutlasses, knives and about two dozen carbines. If we can arm in this way and the vessel is good, steams fast and draws but little water some damage be scattered around. If it is possible to communicate plese to so. To-day a steamer went down with the Constitution (I suppose) in tow. It was a tantalizing sight for I am confident that a gun-boat as above could have taken both. As the Constitution mouts party guns and the steamer may have a few small ones this may appear visionary, but here is how it would be done: The gun-boat would steam twice as fast as the tow possibly could. The Constitution does not steam; her sails appeared to be unbent. Certainly her lighty yards were struck and under other circumstances she could not have acted for there was no wind. Under these circumstances if the gun-boat had ranged ahead bringing the steamer and frigate in range she could have worked her stern gun playing upon the steamer's bow exposed only to return fire from her; then about quick, board, cut tow-line and get out of the wasy if necessary, leaving the frigate perfectly helpless exposed as long as necessary to the rake of the gun-boat, the latter all safe except from her bow guns for a few minutes; then the gun-boat steaming away and playing upon the frigate with stern gun until beyond range; then lie too and play upon with bow gun as long as her flag was up. That down steam for her, the bow gun always ready in case of deception, bearing in mind to never let the frigate present her broadside which she could not possibly do if the gun-boat is near her and managed with ordinary skill.

Can anything be done? Mother sends love to Cousin May and Chase.

Your affectionate

R.