War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0696 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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the gradual addition of oxygen, while the carbonic acid is absorbed by a shower of lime water. This I conceive is far better than taking down a large supply of compressed air as is done in some cases, requiring larger vessels in proportion to the men and of course additional machinery. I propose to tow out my gun-boat to sea and when within range of the enemy's guns it sinks below the water's surface so as to leave no trace on the surface of its approach, a self-acting apparatus keeping it at any depth required. When within a few rods of the enemy it leaps of surface and the two vessels come in contact before the enemy can fire a gun. Placed in the bow of the gun-boat is a small mortar containing a self-exploding shell. As it strikes the enemy the shell explodes and blows in the ship's sides; then the engines are reversed, the gun-boat sinks below the surface and goes noiselessly on its way toward another ship. After a few ship are sunk the enemy can scarcely have the temerity in our waters. I need not enumerate to you the advantages of such a weapon when England is looking elsewhere for cotton. I have written you on this subject in order to obtain an opportunity to draft out my invention, which with the means at command in Richmond can be done in a week at most. Before having it inspected by a committee of practical men a favorable answer to this will insure me a leave of absence, when I will at once report at Richmond and perfect my invention, either alone or in conjunction with a person you may select. As for making the drawings in the army with accuracy it is almost impossible, since neither the paper, instruments, nor necessary tables can be procured.

Yours, &c.,

CHARLES P. LEAVITT,

Company K, Second Virginia Regiment.

[Indorsement.]

OCTOBER 26, 1861.

I recommended that this man be granted furlough to come on here, and in this office or that of the Chief Engineer's draw out his plans. *

J. GORGAS,

Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Ordnance.

SPECIAL ORDERS,

ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE, No. 186.

Richmond, October 22, 1861.

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V. Leaves of absence to members of the legislatures of the different States to cover the legislative sessions will be granted, upon application, by the respective commanders of the forces to which they belong.

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By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

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* He was discharged the military service by paragraph X, Special Orders, No. 250, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, December 2, 1861, "his labor being required for other important Government work. "

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