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[285] prejudices, Mr. Davis' history thus ignoring events discussed in many works on torpedoes.

Buenos Ayres, December 5, 1881.
Hon. Jefferson Davis,
Sir,—I write to ask that you will do an act of justice.

On pages 207-8, 2d vol. of your ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ you say: ‘This led to an order placing General G. P. Rains in charge of the submarine defences. * * * The secret of all his future success. * * * The torpedoes were made of the most ordinary material generally, as beer barrels fixed with conical heads. * * * Some were made of cast iron, copper, or tin, and glass demijohns were used. There were three essentials to success, viz: the sensitive fuse primer, a charge of sixty pounds of gunpowder, and actual contact between the torpedo and the bottom of the vessel.’

You have thus gone into detail on the subject of torpedoes, and you continue at some length on the two following pages.

The inference to be drawn from reading your remarks on this subject, in days when you and I have passed away, and when it will be too late to correct errors, is that General Rains commanded the submarine defences of the South.

To him is due the success of this means of warfare. His ‘sensitive fuse primer’ was ‘essential to success.’

As President, you could not be expected to know much of the details of torpedo operations during such a terrible war as that of our second revolution; but whatever may come from your pen will be received by the world as the highest authority, even upon torpedoes.

I know it is too late to correct, unless a second edition be published; but you can answer my letter, and my children will have it to read.

The facts of the case are briefly these, so far as I am personally concerned: In the summer of 1862 I relieved Commander M. F. Maury, in command of the submarine defences around Richmond, by written order of the Secretary of the Navy, the result of which was the organization of a department, the application of an electric battery of convenient size and sufficient strength to the explosion of submarine mines; the construction of a large number of wrought iron mines (at the Tredegar Works), holding 1,800 pounds of gunpowder, which were placed at a depth of seven fathoms; the importation of insulated cable to connect the mines and the electric batteries; the manufacture of the plantinum or quantity fuse, which alone

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