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[42]

General Beauregard remonstrated, but without avail. In a telegram to General Cooper he said:

‘I learn with regret from Colonel Rhett that the two 7-inch rifled guns have been turned over to the navy for Mobile. The necessity for a much larger number of the heaviest guns here is increased, as the boom is likely to prove a failure.’

14. A very unpleasant misunderstanding now occurred between the Commanding General of the Department and Major Childs, ordnance officer in charge of the Charleston Arsenal. A clear and comprehensive explanation of it is given in the following letter:

Headquarters, Department of S. C., Ga., and Fla., Charleston, S. C., Nov. 27th, 1862.
Genl. Sam. Cooper, Adjt. and Insp.-Genl., Richmond, Va.:
General—About the 20th inst., having ascertained that a sufficient number of guns of the heaviest calibre could not be procured for the defence of this important harbor, and that the floating boom across its entrance would possibly be a failure, I determined to hasten, by all practicable means in my power, the rifling and banding of as many 42 and 32 pounders, already in position in the works of this harbor, as time and the limited means under my control would permit.

But having ascertained by actual experiment that the rifling and banding of a 32-pounder by the ordnance officer, Major F. L. Childs, in charge of the Arsenal here, had taken more than four weeks to be completed, and having at least twenty other guns of that calibre and of 42-pounders to rifle and band in a similar manner, it became evident to me it would be utterly impossible to complete them in time for the pressing emergencies of our situation.

About the same time Brigadier-General R. S. Ripley, commanding First Military District, having informed me that he felt convinced he could have the alterations desired made in less than half the time taken by the Ordnance Department, if I would place the matter under his control, and being extremely anxious to have the work done as soon as practicable, I issued Special Orders No. 229, of which the following is the section bearing on the case, viz., par. III.: “The Commanding General of the First Military District has the authority to direct and order the rifling and banding of such guns as require it within his command, to the extent of the capacity for doing the work effectually, and may make requisitions directly upon the Charleston Arsenal, or other proper source, through his district ordnance officer, for the necessary material for the work.”

General Ripley immediately took the matter in hand, caused several heavy guns to be dismounted from the works and brought to Messrs. Eason & Co.'s foundery in this city, and made on Major Childs a requisition, in pursuance of the orders already referred to, for two sets of bands for 42-pounder guns in depot. Major Childs declined to issue, enclosing me the requisitions endorsed as follows:


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