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Some notes of the Confederate States Navy. [from the Richmond, Va., Dispatch, February 3, 1901.]

Unofficial letter from Lieutenant Minor.

The treachery of a Canadian.

He weakened and betrayed the cause.

Naval Ordnance works, Richmond, Va., March 23, 1864.
My Dear Sir: * * * There is but little navy news afloat. Captain Page was selected, I hear, by the President to command all the heavy batteries at Mobile. You know that he has been made a Brigadier-General, I suppose. S. S. Lee gives up Drewry's Bluff to Major Territt, of the Marines, and takes Page's place at Charlotte. I hear he does not fancy it much. The sailors from the bluff will man the iron-clad Fredericksburg, commanded by Frank Shepperd. She is now fitting out at Rocketts. Wood will probably see service in her, with other vessels under his command. His last affair [306] at New Berne was the feature in the attack, and though not attended with all the results he had cause to expect, still it was a gallant act, well planned and boldly executed. He is surely one of our rising men, and I say Godspeed to him. ‘Dave’ made an attempt on the Minnesota not long since with his torpedo, but failed, though it was not his fault. Webb, Read, Alexander Gassell, and some of our other fellows are looked for by the next flag of truce. They have had a hard time of it, and I hear that Gassell was at first rather harshly treated. You know that he has been made a commander, and deservedly so, I say. John Wilkiason has charge of the blockade runners at Wilmington. Lynch and Whiting, you know, had a blow up there, and I hear that the President had them both here for awhile. Bad boys, to be growling in school! Ben Loyall commands the ironclad Neuse, of two 6.4s, at Kingston, N. C. Cooke has the Albemarle, a similar vessel, at Halifax, N. C. No one has yet been ordered to the Virginia here. She will soon be ready for her officers and is perhaps the best and most reliable ironclad in the service. If you were not on more important duty, I am inclined to believe that you would have command of her. Captain Matthew Maury writes to me, under date of January 21st, that we have nothing to look for from England that money can't buy. His letter is rather gloomy in its tone. Charley Morris has the Florida, Barney being sick. William L. Maury had asked to be relieved from the Georgia on the score of ill health. Bulloch is still doing good service in England and France. Bob Carter lately brought the navy steamer Coquette into Wilmington with a cargo composed of two fine marine engines, etc. He goes out in her again to Bermuda. Maffit commands the blockade (runner) Florrie, but I see by a late Northern paper that he had to put into Halifax, N. S., for repairs. Murdaugh at last accounts was in Paris.

Speaking of Halifax reminds me of our late expedition, which, I suppose you have heard, failed through the treachery of a Canadian who was in our secret. We worked hard and had victory, and such a victory, almost in our grasp when the chicken-hearted fellow, alarmed at the ultimate bearing which our success would have on his individual fortunes and fearing to lose his high position, with exile and perhaps a long imprisonment, informed on us, and just as we were about to embark for Johnson's Island to board the Michigan and under her guns to compel a surrender of the garrison, with afterthoughts of a short but very brilliant cruise on the lake, the storm burst over us, and with Yankees and John Bull both on the lookout [307] for us, our raid was over, and our poor fellows still hard and fast in the bay of Sandusky!

Van Zandt is here, en route for Selma. Where we are to get officers for the ironclads is beyond my ken. Tidball says we will have to organize the Provisional Navy, but this will hardly officer the ships. There is no talk of promotion, and very few officers seem either to think of or care for it. All hands seem to look forward to an early peace (though I can hardly see a glimmer of it) for the creation of a Navy, forgetting that war is the time to create a love for the service which will make it popular in peace, and I begin to fear that our opportunity has passed and unimproved, though I hope not, for we have the elements of a splended Navy in the Confederacy, and it only requires zeal, pluck, and dash to bring it to the surface.

Very truly yours,

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