In view of all these facts, I deem it proper to suggest the importance of an effort on the part of the Army to surprise and destroy the rebel ram and battery referred to, or of obstructing the river by torpedoes and piles, or otherwise, so as to prevent their descent.
This Department will be happy to co-operate as far as it may be able in adopting such steps as may seem practicable and adequate to secure us against threatening disaster.
I am, very respectfully, Gideon Welles. To Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War.
The Albemarle did not appear until nine months after the above letter was written, during which time no efforts seem to have been made to hasten the preparation of light-draft Monitors, that might have been floated over the bar at Hatteras at high water.
The letter we have quoted shows that the War Department took little interest in the matter of destroying the ram when under construction, which could only be done by a strong military and naval force combined.