best to provide for it in the possible contingency of its becoming necessary to go to Saint Thomas or other island to meet the British steamer. It is thought here by those well informed that the Gordon is not sufficiently a sea boat for the more distant insland of Bermuda.
Mr. Trenholm, of the firm of Frazer & Co., agrees to pay $5,000 of the charter money for the benefit of the return cargo space not reserved by the owners; thus should we not extend the voyage beyond Havana (which is not anticipated) the cost to the Government will be but $5,000. Al expenses of every kind are to be borne by the owners.
Since the arrangement was made they have been busily engaged in putting her in complete order for sea and we fully expect to get off to-morrow night. Her light draft will enable her to go at any time, and by hugging close to shore will be enabled to escape the observation of the enemy's squadron. Our plan is in such way as may be found most safe and practicable to get on board one of the British steamers of the mail line between the West Indies and England. The Gordon is too fast to be overtaken at sea. Since this change of arrangement we have seen nothing to disattisfy us with it as the best that could be adopted.
the Nashville we understand is under orders from the Navy Department to sail immediately and will probably endeavor to get off to-night. If the enemy are found in the position they occupy by day the chances are very large that she must pass within reach of their guns. In such event her only hope of safely is that she may not be seen, or if seen may not be hit. Against the latter risk her speed is much relied on.
You will of course be advised promptly when we are off.
Very respectfully and truly, yours,
J. M. MASON.
CHARLESTON, October 11, 1861.
Honorable R. M. T. HUNTER, Secretary of State, Richmond.
SIR: We have the honor to send to you herewith the charter-party we have made with owners of steamer Gordon in conformity with your telegraphic instructions; also a letter* from Messrs. John Frazer & Co. of this place by which you will perceive that if the Gordon return safely the cost of the charter to the Government will be reduced to $5,000.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. MASON.
CHARLESTON, October 12, 1861.
Honorable R. M. T. HUNTER:
Our friends left here last night at 1 o'clock. A fast steamer, good officers and very dark night with heavy rain. The guard-boat reported that theyc rossed the bar about 2 o'clock and that they could neither have been seen nor heard by the fleet. A strong northewest wind helped them and the fleet this morning seems not to have changed position at all.
As soon as we hear further I will telegraph. The steamer ought to be back in about a week and nothing said until her return. communicate to Mrs. Mason.
WILLIAM HENRY TRESCOT.