We have quoted the whole of this report, because it shows the exact condition of our coast defences near the close of the year 1863, the third year of the war.
The letters of the Governor
, from this time to the end of the year, relate to a variety of subjects, but chiefly in regard to the coast defences.
, of his staff, was sent to Europe
, Sept. 16, to contract with parties in England
for heavy ordnance, which was the great necessity of the times.
His letters from England
, acquainting the Governor
with the progress of his negotiations, were written with great ability, and displayed an intimate knowledge, both theoretical and practical, of the different manufacture of heavy arms, not surpassed by many of the regular United-States army officers.
The letters, also, in reply, of Mr. John M. Forbes
and of Governor Andrew
, show equal knowledge of this branch of the service.
It would be impossible to give even an abstract, in a volume like this, of all of the interesting and useful information contained in this correspondence.
As it, however, relates to a subject which occupied the attention of the Governor
and of the best minds in the State
, from the beginning to the end of the Rebellion
, and which in importance was only second to keeping our regiments full at the front, we shall, in the next chapter, give a brief narrative of what was done in England
by Colonel Ritchie
We have already kept up a running narrative of the labors performed by Governor Andrew
and Mr. Forbes
, and of the action taken by the Legislature and the Executive Council upon this subject.
The anxiety felt here in Boston
, and all along the coast of Massachusetts
, for the defence and safety of our harbors, appears never to have been appreciated at Washington
, or if appreciated, which is probably the fact, neither the War
nor the Navy Department had means at their command to afford the protection which our exposure to attack demanded.
They probably did all they could, but all they did was not sufficient for our security.
Not only was it regarded as of the utmost importance to have the forts on the coast properly armed and garrisoned, but it was also deemed of the greatest necessity to have iron-clad armed vessels to defend the harbor of Boston
, and to cruise in Massachusetts Bay