At Nassau, New Providence, December 16, 1861.
Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War, &c.:
SIR: In absence here of any one more fully authorized I deem it my duty to make the following report to your Department: One the 4th ultimo, at the suggestion of Hon. A. D. Mann, I accepted the charge of the cargo of this vessel, which was then to have left on the 6th, but for some reason did not sail until the 10th. Before leaving Captain C. Huse, Confederate agent, handed me very full and explicit instructions in reference to the landing and storing of the cargo, but gave me to no control the movements of the ship before reaching a Confederate port. The cargo, as you are doubtless aware, is very valuable, consisting of Enfield rifles, munitions, medicines, &c., costing in England, I was informed by Colonel M., something like $850,000. On the voyage out we encountered much rough weather and shipped some heavy seas, one of which carried away the forehatchway. I have, however, made several personal examinations of the cargo, so far as it was possible, and have the honor to report it apparently in good condition and the ship free from leakage.
We reached Teneriffe on the morning of the 22d of November, where the captain was ordered to take in sufficient additional coal to carry him across the Atlantic. He could only get forty tons, however, out of 100 he required and this, too, only after a delay of two days. To this delay and failure to get coal must be in a great measure ascribed our being hemmed in here at present. We arrived here on the morning of the 9th instant. It was necessary, as I have just intimated, to take in coal to make up the deficiency of supply at Teneriffe. The captain's orders were to make the port, however, in any case, where Mr. Helm, the agent of your Department at Havana, was to meet us for the purpose of giving the latest information of the U. S. blockading vessels, to designate our port of entry, and to furnish us a pilot. We, however, found neither Mr. Helm or pilot. Fortunately, the Isabel (Ella Warley), from Charleston, was here, and Captain Bird succeeded in engaging their pilot. Two days were required to ship our coal, and before it was in the U. S. gun-boat, Flambeau came into the harbor under circumstances that leave no doubt that she came expressly for us, and will in all probability wait to take us when we go out. Her officers have been heard to say that they shall not move an inch for the Theodore or Ella Warley, as the Gladiator is the one they came for and intend to have.
I am perfectly satisfied, and so is Captain Bird, that information of the sailing of this vessel (Gladiator) was transmitted from England to Washington. Captain Bird says the custom-house officers in London intimated to him their virtual knowledge of our destination and gave him friendly warning that several persons had been making a very critical examination of the custom-house books. The chief mate was told two or three days before we sailed, as a secret, that the Gladiator was to run the blockade. The second mate received similar information from another source, and two days before sailing two persons in a small boat were off broadsides in the stream for several hours, apparently engaged in making a careful sketch of her build, rig, &c. I was hardly surprised at this when I learned that her cargo was put in without the slightest disguise, the cases of muskets being so labeled in large, plain letters, the cartridges ditto, and the powder in the well-known ordinary packages of that article. Neither Mr. Scott, who was