Abbildungen der Seite

worth more than the $10,491 67 and expenses, so that she has more than cleared herself.

The following named steamboats, bargained for by Captain J. Sanders, corps of engineers, around here, were received and paid for by me and despatched to Brazos Santiago:

The Whiteville, arrived July 8, paid for July 10, $5,500, and despatched July 20.

The Rough and Ready, arrived July 18, paid for July 27, $12,000, and despatched July 28.

The Colonel Cross, arrived July 24, paid for July 28, $14,000, and despatched August 6.

The Corvette, arrived July 16, paid for July 27, $16,000, and despatched August 6.

The Major Brown, arrived August 11, paid for September 3, $12,600, and despatched September 5.

The steamboats, therefore, despatched by me to Brazos Santiago, for service there and on the Rio Grande, were as follows: The Troy, purchased.–See my report of July 4. The J. E. Roberts, purchased.See same report. The Brownsville, purchased.-See same report. The Hatchee Eagle, purchased. The Big Hatchee, chartered.-See same report. The Warren, chartered.--See same report. The Exchange, chartered.-See same report. The W. N. Mercer, chartered.-See same report. The Mentoria, purchased. The Whiteville, bargained for by Captain J. Sanders. The Rough and Ready,


do. The Colonel Cross,


do. The Corvette,


do. The Major Brown,


do. These public boats are on the Rio Grande, &c.

The United States steamboat Undine is at La Vaca, as is the chartered boat Samuel M. Williams.

The steam-schooner (propeller) James Cage and the steamship Telegraph belong to and are now at this station.

The United States barque Robert Morris belongs to this station, though now absent at Brazos Santiago.

The United States steamship Neptune is now here, having sprung a leak and injured machinery in a gale of wind; she must go into dock, and will perhaps do so to-inorrow. She ran from off Brazos island into Galveston; her captain chartered a vessel to take her cargo down, and she came to this port for repairs.

The steam-schooner James Cage departed hence for Brazos July 1, met with a gale of wind, put back in distress, was repaired, and again started September 25. Her piston-rod broke at sea, and again she came back in distress; she was repaired, and started the third time 13th instant; the piston-rod again broke before she got to the mouth of the river; she came back, and is now being repaired. I think she will go safe the next time.

The United States steam-barque (propeller) Edith is now here also.


Deputy Quartermaster General. Colonel HENRY STANTON,

Acting Quartermaster General, Washington, D.C.

New ORLEANS, December 9, 1846. Colonel: Understanding that the quartermaster general had written to you in relation to light draught schooners, I did not reply to your letter of the 19th of October, received on the 28th; and now I do so, because of what I believe to be so much to the public interest. I have all along known that they were the most useful kind of vessels we could have, and have in every case availed of them where it was practicable, by chartering, and shipping at a contract rate per barrel, &c. This modè I thought preferable to owning them, as the very great risk was avoided, as also the expense of repairs consequent on wear and tear, and injury in other respects. It is now, and has before been at sundry times, very difficult to obtain by hiring, or on freight, the kind of vessels we ought to have; and 'I am constrained to express it as my decided opinion that we ought to have vessels capable of carrying, at least, each the bulk of 800 to 1,500 or more barrels, upon not exceeding 7 or 7 feet water. They should be well found in every respect, and strongly built, with a good deal of deck room. It does not matter a great deal whether coppered or not, as, if coppered, the copper is apt to be rubbed off in passing shoal places, and worms are the result; if not coppered, a good coat of verdigris every two months, or such time, is a tolerable protection against them, particularly if running into fresh water occasionally, as would be the case when coming here. I do not hesitate to say that we ought to own at least twenty or more of this class of vessels. We may pick up a few here, but very few, such as we should own; and I would most respectfully recommend that at least twenty be purchased and sent out without loss of time. We must have them, either by hiring or owning; and if they cannot be had, we will be compelled to take up larger vessels, and run the chances of lightering at sea, which is attended with great risk, loss of time, and expense. I have recently purchased two light draught vessels, one of which is now gone to Tampico, and the other I have sent to the mouth of the Rio Grande, to serve as a lighter there, and at Brazos island. That which has gone to Tampico (the H. Long, a schooner) cost $4,000; and the other, the schooner Belle, cost $3,000. Ves; sels drawing 4,4), and 5 feet water loaded, would be very useful on the bars. In speaking of light draught vessels, I mean them as transports for stores; for troops a much larger class of sail vessels, or steamers, must be availed of.

I shall not fail to purchase all the light draught vessels-sail, I mean—that I can obtain of a suitable kind, provided they can be

had on fair terms, and trust that my course will be approved; indeed, I have already the quartermaster general's verbal authority to do so.


Deputy Quartermaster General. Col. HENRY STANTON, Acting Quartermaster General,

Washington City.

Fort Polk, May 15, 1846. Sir: The entrance of this harbor, called the Brazos de Santiago, is about nine miles north of the Rio Grande. The depth of water on the bar is usually 8 feet-frequently 81 to 9 feet: The anchorage is a short distance inside the bar, and within musket shot of Brazos island on the south. At this point all our transports have to be lightered, and most of them unloaded, and the cargoes brought up to the depot, or Point Isabel, a distance of about four miles. Since we have been here, I have employed the United States steamers Monmouth and Neva, and the hired steamer Cincinnati, on this duty; added to which, the Monmouth and Cincinnati have made several trips to San Joseph's island for stores, and the Monmouth one as far as Galveston. The United States steamer « Colonel Long” was ordered down by Colonel Cross; but she did not arrive until after his death. A few days after her arrival, she became leaky; and, upon an examination of her, it is found that she is so thoroughly worm-eaten as to be of no use, without being hauled out and new planked. How she got here from Aransas is astonishing. She is a very weak boat; and when in her best days, the trip to Aransas in safety was considered doubtful. It is impossible to send her to New Orleans in her present condition; and I expect I shall be compelled to take out her engine, and send it to New Orleans. The hull can be used for storing coal, which is not injured by water. It is not worth the expense of building ways at this place, even if she could be repaired and placed on the Rio Grande. She would not answer, being too long for so narrow and crooked a river.

The steamer Neva is much worm-eaten; but if she is sent into the Rio Grande in a few days, as is contemplated, she may be preserved. If these boats had been coppered previous to being sent out, they would both have been in good condition now.

If we get and keep possession of the Rio Grande, it will be necessary to have one or two good river boats of moderate size. These need not be coppered, if used altogether in the river; but as we may be compelled to make use of the Brazos Santiago and this point as a depot, I think it will be best, as a matter of precaution, to have them coppered.


Major and Quartermaster. Major General Thos. S. JESUP,

Quartermaster General, Washington City.

Fort POLK, May 18, 1846. SIR: Yesterday I sent the steamer Neva into the Rio Grande, by order of General Taylor, commanding. She had been leaking badly previous to her getting into the river, caused by the worms, which have got into her during her long service in the salt water entirely, and it is doubtful whether she can be preserved for service. Ex. perienced captains of vessels inform me that when a vessel, in which the worms have got much, is placed in fresh water, they become more active, and endeavor to eat their way through the planking. If they succeed in doing this before they are killed by the fresh water, the vessel is frequently lost. A few days will determine the question.

General Taylor has directed me to procure a suitable boat for the Rio Grande, and I have written to Lieutenant Colonel Hunt to purchase and send one out, of the following dimensions, &c., viz: a good substantial river boat, from 125 to 135 feet in length, with two engines, so as to be able to turn with ease, as the river is both nar: row and crooked, with short turns; to draw not over 4į feet with a full load; to be coppered, inasmuch as we may have to use her in salt water. It is bad economy to send an uncoppered boat into these waters, as one season will destroy a perfectly new boat.

If the Neva is preserved, I think that the boat sent for will be sufficient for all our purposes; but if she should prove to be too much worm-eaten, I shall be compelled to send to Lieutenant Colonel Hunt for another boat similar to the one which I have required of him.


Major and Quartermaster. Major General Thos. S. JESUP,

Quartermaster General, Washington city.

Fort Polk, May 18, 1846. Sir: Finding it impossible to repair the United States steamer “Colonel Long” so as to render her serviceable, or even safe to send her to New Orleans, I have had her engine carefully taken out and packed, ready to send to New Orleans, where it can be sold, or a new boat built for it. I would recommend that the latter be done, as it is a fine engine, and in a good state of preservation, and will last many years.

I have had every thing preserved, and nothing will be required but the hull, which might be built and coppered, with every thing complete, for about $6,000. The boat should not exceed 130 feet in length, with sufficient breadth of beam to carry 1,000 barrels on 4 feet draught of water.


Major and Quartermaster. Major General Thos. S. JESUP,

Quartermaster General, Washington city.


FORT POLK, May 18, 1846. Sir: So many troops have been ordered to reinforce the army now here, that I apprehend we shall not have sufficient land transportation, if, as I understand is the case, the general takes the field on the south side of the Rio Grande. I have therefore required of Lieutenant Colonel Hunt fifty mule wagons and twenty ox wagons, with harness, yokes, &c., complete.

The number of volunteers which have been ordered here has exhausted the requisition of General Taylor.


Major and Quartermaster. Major General Thos. S. JESUP,

Quartermaster General, Washington city.

Brazos Santiago, June 24, 1846. SIR: I have to report the total loss of the United States steamer Colonel Harney, which was wrecked during the night of the 22d instant, while coming in over the bar at this place.

About noon of the 22d she was ordered out by Captain J. M. Hill, assistant quartermaster, to bring in volunteers from the barque Chapin, lying off the harbor. After taking on board a number, the captain of her (Wood) started to come in. On coming over the outer bar her captain reports that she struck, and that he was unable to get her into the right channel again before dark. During the night she drifted into the breakers, and by morning she was hard aground and bilged.

Towards evening on the 22d it was perceived, from the landing at this place, that she was rubbing hard, but no apprehension of injury even was entertained, as far as I can learn, by the many captains of vessels in the harbor, especially as no signal was noticed indicating that she wanted assistance.

During the night Captain Wood sent in a small boat; but instead of reporting to Captain Hill or myself, both of whom were on the island, that he was in a dangerous situation and needed assistance, he entirely neglected it, and sent to the United States schooner Hunt merely for a larger yawl and an anchor.

I was not aware that the Harney was in any danger until after 6 o'clock the morning of the 23d, at which time I received a message from Captain Wood. I immediately sent for the steamer Monmouth to go to his assistance; but before she could get to the bar (she being at the time at Point Isabel) it was too late to render any assistance in getting afloat. The crew and troops were all saved, but the bar has been so rough since the accident that I apprehend little else will be saved, except what may drift ashore.


Major and Quartermaster. Major General Thos. S. Jesup,

Quartermaster General, Washington city.

« ZurückWeiter »