Mon Jan 30 1865|
Sanford telegrams CMDR Thomas T Craven, USS Niagra, "The ram mentioned in official enclosure yesterday left [Le] Palais, Belle Ile, Sunday morning, steering south."
SECNAV writes David D Porter, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, "The Department calls your attention to the 5th and 8th clauses of its general order of December 12, 1862 (copy herewith enclosed), relative to testimonials to officers.
While a commander of a squadron is required to report promptly and carefully every transaction under his command and to give every officer and man the praise or censure justly due them, such reports are to be made to the Secretary of the Navy, not to the officers or men themselves. All written testimonials of general or particular conduct given by a commander of a squadron are likewise to be addressed to the Secretary of the Navy.
The requirements mentioned have been overlooked by you in recent commumcations to commanding officers who served in the attacks on Fort Fisher and have been ordered north by you, particularly so in the case of one who had been affected by a retiring board. The board was constituted by the Department under authority and in pursuance of an act of Congress, and their findings were approved by the President of the United States.
Your reflections upon the actions of that board, even though they may be just, should not be embodied in an official communication or orders to an officer under your command.
It is likewise amiss to intimate to an officer that the Department will probably assign him to any special or particular duty.
The Department does not doubt that the several officers who have received thes6 congratulatory letters from you discharged their duties faithfully, but their merit should be recorded as the regulations require.
These departures to which I have referred are calculated to embarrass the Department."
CDR George B Balch, USS Pawnee, writes RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, "I have the honor to report that this ship entered the North Edisto on the evening of the 28th instant, and at daylight of the 29th proceeded up the river and anchored off White Point, where I found the Sonoma. Lieutenant-Commander Fillebrown has been actively engaged in scouting with his boats in this vicinity.
I called upon General Potter, who has command of the troops, and expressed the opinion that a move by way of White Point in the direction of Adams Run would be better than in the direction of South Edisto, and in accordance with this opinion General Potter changed his base from Edisto Island to White Point last evening. The Pawnee and Sonoma gave every aid in our [their] power in landing the troops, having taken position to protect the flank.
At 8 a. m. this morning, at General Potter's request, we opened fire for an hour, at the expiration of which time his troops advanced, accompanied by a light 12-pounder of the Sonoma. There has been occasional firing from the howitzer and the infantry, but not heavy enough to lead one to suppose that the enemy is in strong force. It is contemplated by General Potter that the force will fall back by night to White Point.
The troops advanced, I am told by General Potter, till they came to a battery, strongly posted, and which replied to his fire. It would require a much heavier force than he has to assault it, and he is now (7 p. m.) embarking his troops, and they will return to their former post on Edisto.
I sent the Daffodil up the Dawho River, but nothing of importance was discovered. I had yesterday, before the troops came, a reconnoissance made in the direction of Adams Run, and some rebels were found and shots exchanged. Boats from the Sonoma had been up the Wadmelaw and discovered some few rebels; she went up in that direction yesterday and fired her howitzer occasionally. I believe this movement of General Potter will have a good effect in worrying the enemy."
RADM S K Stribling, East Gulf Blockading Squadron, writes SECNAV "I have the honor to report the capture of the schooners Augusta and Fannie McRae (both British vessels) while attempting to run the blockade; the former by the Honeysuckle on the 17th instant and the latter on the 23d instant by the Fox, a tender to the Hendrick Hudson. I enclose herewith reports of the captures and prize lists."
CDR J R M Mullany, USS Bienville, writes CAPT George F Emmons, 2nd Division, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, from off Galveston "I have to report my arrival from off the Rio Grande with the Bienville in a leaky condition, rendering it necessary, in my opinion, that she should go into port for repairs.
I enclose for your information a copy of a letter addressed to me by the chief engineer of this ship; also a copy of one addressed by me to the line and engineer officers, and their reply in relation to the matter.
My opinion coinciding entirely with theirs, after making temporary repairs (which have partially stopped the leak, but which are liable at any moment to give out again), I spoke the coal brig Star of Hope, ordered her master to drop into Mexican waters, or to stand off and on until the arrival of our relief (to whom he was directed to report), and then sailed for this station.
The leak occasioned by the breaking away of the bilge discharge pipes does not, I think, account for all the water that the ship has been making. In my opinion the ship is strained, and has opened her seams to a considerable extent, occasioned by encountering heavy weather on her recent trip to and from New Orleans and while off the Rio Grande.
Although the bilge pipe leak is now nearly closed, yet it requires one of the steam pumps and the large hand pumps on the quarterdeck to be kept constantly at work to keep her free. I am satisfied that this ship is not strong enough to encounter very heavy weather with her present battery on board.
Upon the evening of the 28th instant, the sea came in so heavily and the ship rolled and strained so much that I got underway and stood out to sea.
About three hours afterwards, the leak and injury to the bilge pipes were discovered.
I arrived off the Rio Grande on the evening of the 17th instant, with the coal brig Star of Hope in tow, but failed to meet the Seminole there as I anticipated.
Upon the 18th instant I took 100 tons of coal out of the coal brig, but from that time up to the date of sailing the weather has been so rough and boisterous as to render it almost an impossibility to get coal from the brig, either by taking her alongside or by boating it; indeed I have never known such a succession of rough weather on this coast.
I left H. B. M. steam frigate Wolverene at the Rio Grande. Her commander, Captain A. F. R. De Horsey, sent a lieutenant on board with his compliments and the usual tender of services.
I did not communicate with the Mexican authorities, nor could I have done so even if I desired it, as it was never smooth enough to land.
I trust you will approve of the course I have pursued under existing circumstances in returning here for your instructions."
RADM Samuel P Lee, Mississippi Squadron, writes SECNAV "The Department's communication of 23d of November, enquiring whether Western pilots are appointed as pilots in the naval service and sworn in or hired temporarily, was duly received.
The pressure of duty in connection with Army operations at that time, and separation from my files, prevented my giving the subject prompt attention. I have issued a call for exact information on the subject, and meanwhile I have the honor to inform the Department that the majority of the pilots employed in this squadron are appointed by the commander-in-chief and sworn in; some are hired temporarily and receive the same pay as appointed pilots. I enclose a petition signed by 28 of the appointed first-class pilots of this squadron for an increase of the present pay, from $250 to $300 per month, which last sum they state was the rate of pay established early in the war by General Grant's order for pilots on Army transports, which they still receive, while pilots in the merchant service, receive from $450 to $750 per month, and that at the present rates of pay, few good pilots are willing to enter the naval service, thus necessitating the employment of incompetent men or causing pecuniary loss to those of ability and experience.
I recommend this increase of pay to the favorable consideration of the Department both as just and economical. It has been customary to draft them from the pilots associations, or impress them summarily, for temporary service from boats plying on the river, and, as trade is increasing, the difficulty of getting pilots by arbitrary means will be greatly increased.
I am informed that the provost-marshal at St. Louis decides that a pliot is not excused from the draft because he is at the time a pilot in the Navy. It is difficult to get pilots, and a great misapplication of them, to put them in the ranks of the Army. I recommend that it be made the duty of all provost-marshals promptly to turn over to the commanding officer of this squadron, through the commandant of the naval station at Mound City, all the pilots for the Western waters who are legally drafted for military service in the Army."