sixty-four-pounder guns cannot be strangers to the reading of our officers.
But the Government of Massachusetts was aware, one year and more ago, that the United States had not, and, as it then stood, could not possibly procure by any means either resorted to or contemplated by it, more than two-sevenths of the armament for its coast and harbor defences which, in the event of a foreign war, it confessedly needed.
I have the authoritative statistics in proof.
Stern necessity drove us to look out for our own principal city at least.
We took no step until consulting the President, Secretary of War, Secretary of the Navy, General Totten, General Ripley, and General Meigs; and we moved with their approbation.
The ordnance officers of the army and of the navy have each their pet guns.
They oppose each other's guns, and every thing else but the Rodman gun and the Dahlgren gun, though they have had to submit to the Parrott gun. Now, uniformity of calibre is convenient, because it prevents the necessity of varieties of ammunition.
But it is more convenient to repel invaders, even if you are obliged to use two kinds of shot and shell to do it with, than it is to be destroyed or captured by an armed fleet, notwithstanding the pleasure it might give the Ordnance Bureau to use but one kind of ammunition.’
The Governor illustrated these points at considerable length, and closed with this paragraph:—
I hope you will not at all be discouraged by the ordnance officers.
If they object, please go to the Secretary of War.
At a time when Long Island Head and Deer Island Spit cannot have an earthwork nor a gun for the want of power by the United States to supply ordnance, it is a gross and miserable absurdity for our people at Washington to turn up their noses at guns, the production of which the English and Russian Governments have now completely monopolized, so that, after filling our antecedent contracts, we could get no more of them of foreign manufacture, if we would.
The reader will have noticed, that, from the outbreak of the war, the Governor
's attention had been excited by the defenceless condition of the coast of Massachusetts
; and as early as April 24, 1861, he sent a detachment of the volunteer militia to occupy the forts in Boston Harbor
, in which, since the withdrawal of the garrison from Fort Independence
for service in the South
, the United States
had left only one or two elderly ordnance-sergeants.
These detachments were sufficient to