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1 Com. Tatnall, in his official report of the loss of the Merrimac, lays the blame entirely on his pilots, who on the 7th assured him that they could take her to within 40 miles of Richmond if her draft were lessened to 18 feet; but, after five or six hours had been devoted to this work, and she had thus been disabled for action, they, for the first time, declared that, as the winds had for two days been westerly, the water in the James was too low, so that she could not now be run above the Jamestown flats, up to which point each shore was occupied by our armies. He had now no alternative but to fire her, land his crew, and make the best of his way to Suffolk. A Court of Inquiry, presided over by Capt. French Forrest, after an investigation protracted from May 22d to June 11th. decided that her destruction was unnecessary, and that she might, after being lightened to a draft of 20 feet 6 inches, have been taken up James river to Hog Island. Part of the blame, however, was laid on the hasty retreat from Norfolk of the military under Gen. Huger.
2 August 4, 1861.
3 He says:
Its general line of operations should be so directed that water transportation can be availed of, from point to point, by means of the ocean and the rivers emptying into it. An essential feature of the plan of operations will be the employment of a strong naval force, to protect the movements of a fleet of transports intended to convey a considerable body of troops from point to point of the enemy's seacoast. thus either creating diversions, and rendering it necessary to detach largely from their main body in order to protect such of their cities as may He threatened or else landing and forming establishments on their coast, at any favorable places that opportunity might offer. This naval force should also cooperate with the main army, in its efforts to seize the important sea-board towns of the Rebels.--McClellan's Official Memorandum.
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