CUSTOM-HOUSE, COLLECTOR'S OFFICE,
New Orleans, July 12, 1861.
Hon. L. P. WALKER,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a report of H. L. Hanley, in charge of the expedition dispatched in conformity to instructions from the War Department in search of the ship Windsor Forest. * I have been informed, but have not been able to put my hands on the paper, that the New York Tribune of the 24th of June reports the arrival of that vessel at New York on the 23d of June, having been spoken on the 7th of June off Key West by the ship Charles S. Pennell, hence for Liverpool, and warned of the state of blockade.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. H. HATCH,
MEMPHIS, July 12, 1861.
General LEONIDAS POLK,
DEAR SIR: Before leaving Richmond the President desired me to give him all the information I could about the manufactory of small-arms at Holly Springs, and since my arrival at home I have received a letter from the Secretary of War on the same subject. Having had some conversation with you while in Richmond in reference to the matter, I have thought it would not be unimportant to you to give you the substance of my inquiries. Jones & McElwain, of Holly Springs, large manufacturers of iron, and employing some 200 men, are now busily engaged in the construction of machinery for the manufacture of the Belgian or Mississippi rifles, as may be desired, with bayonets and all complete. They inform me that they can be prepared in sixty days to deliver rifles, and in ninety days they could manufacture and deliver 100 per day, unless they fail to increase their mechanical force as they are now attempting to do. They will in a few days have a machine in readiness to rebore and rerifle the common rifle and make bayonets therefor, and if you could supply them with a machine for this purpose they could put it into immediate operation. They are also prepared to make large shot and shell of any size and description. Mr. McElwain is one of the best machinists in the country. He has few equals; with energy to carry out what [he] undertakes. They do not possess sufficient capital to carry into effect all his plans without some pecuniary aid. I have persuaded Mr. McElwain to visit Richmond and have a personal interview with the President. He left on Monday morning last for the purpose, and may be expected back next week. I think you would facilitate the consummation of your wishes to change the common rifle by supplying them with one of the machines you have for that purpose. I had hoped for a personal interview with you before leaving the city, but business compels me to return home this evening.
I am, with respect, your obedient servant,
* See Walker to Huse and Anderson, July 18, p. 486.