A Federal naval Officer's opinion of iron-clads.
--A naval officer, whose letter is published in the Albany (N. Y.) Argus,
furnishes an interesting account of the Confederate
raid at Charleston
, and of the operations of the Montana in the Ogeechee river
The iron-clads notwithstanding they possess many defects that are difficult to remedy, are regarded by him as quite successful, so far as their fighting qualities are concerned.
As sea going vessels, they are regarded to be so very unsafe that the writer declares that he "would rather go into ten actions than to make a passage at sea in one of them." On the question of their effectiveness in the reduction of fortifications he says: ‘"I would guarantee to hold a sand battery like that at Genesis Point--Fort McAllister
--against a dozen of them.
Two of them would demolish Fort Sumter
, or any square case-mated stone or brick fort in two hours. But sand forts are different things, particularly where the guns are isolated and far apart, and protected by high, thick, earthen, traverses.
The shell bury in the sand and throw it about promiscuously; but unless you hit the gun itself no great damage is done beyond occasionally killing a gun's crew, whose place can be supplied if its defenders are in earnest."’ He does not consider the condition of affairs at Port Royal
as very promising.
The political strife in the North
is said to be producing "a dire effect upon the esprit
of our army and navy." About one-half of the men are described as "sick of the war on any basis of cause
whatever." One-fourth are bitter anti proclamation men. One eighth are stragglers and skulks, and the remaining eighth of the officers and men are Abolitionists, "and, perhaps," says this bold and sarcastic critic, the "poorest fighters
of the lot." If but even a part of this statement be true, the chances that General Hunter
will capture either Charleston
are gloomy indeed.