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[290] 1862, before the system of electrical torpedo defences had been perfected by me.

The ‘contemplated attack on Drewry's Bluff’ to which I referred in my first letter to you, and concerning which I quoted from the letter of the Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Mallory, occurred in 1864, as clearly shown in my letter and in Mr. Mallory's words, which I here repeat: ‘The destruction of the Commodore Jones, the leading vessel of Admiral Lee's fleet, which was ascending James river to co-operate with General Butler in the attack on Drewry's Bluff, by causing the retirement of that fleet, undoubtedly saved Drewry's Bluff, the key to Richmond.’

How widely different in date and nature are the two circumstances, and yet you, of all persons, confuse them, and to my injury!

On the same page of your letter you express the opinion that percussion torpedoes were best adapted to our (the Confederate) condition, and you add that ‘on an important occasion’ the electrical system ‘proved a failure.’

Thus you ignore the fact I called to your attention in my first letter that percussion torpedoes closed our own channel ways against ourselves and completely destroyed one of our flag of truce boats, just after she had delivered a large number of prisoners of war, and you further make the assertion that electrical torpedoes failed on an important occasion, leaving to your readers the inference that my department made the failure, when I am satisfied you will know the failure was at Charleston and not under my command, and occurred during the absence of the drunken electrician, who afterward found the torpedo could not be exploded at all. Moreover, that he used the uncertain agent of frictional electricity, which never had any part in the regular system of electrical defences.

In fact, in every case of torpedo warfare during our Southern struggle, however insignificant, if not to my credit, such as the use of ‘beer barrels, glass demijohns,’ the exact weight of ‘sixty pounds gunpowder,’ and a ‘sensitive fuse,’ altogether exceptional in its application, and which achieved its triumph in blowing up our own ships; or in the case where a great electrical failure is made, the inference being that I made it, your memory is remarkably retentive; but where the case concerns me—such as compelling the retreat of a large fleet in the James river, and preventing its co-operation with the army at a moment of great danger to our cause, and the complete destruction of the enemy's leading ship by the electrical torpedo defences, devised and perfected under my command, and the

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