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Doc. 68.-report of the Secretary of the Navy.

Navy Department, July 4, 1861.
Sir :--When the change of Administration took place in March last, the Navy Department was organized on a peace establishment. Such vessels as were in condition for service were chiefly on distant stations, and those which constituted the home squadron were most of them in the Gulf of Mexico. Congress had adjourned without making provision for any extraordinary emergency, and the appropriations for naval purposes indicated that only ordinary current expenses were anticipated.

Extraordinary events which have since transpired have called for extraordinary action on the part of the Government, demanding a large augmentation of the naval force, and the recall of almost the whole of our foreign squadrons for service on our own coasts.

The total number of vessels in the navy, of all classes, on the 4th of March, was ninety, carrying, or designed to carry, about 2,415 guns.

Excluding vessels on the stocks, those unfinished, those used as stationary storeships and receiving ships, and those considered inexpedient to repair, the available force was:

6steam frigates,212
5first-class steam sloops,90
4first-class side-wheel steamers,46
8second-class steam sloops,45
5third-class screw steamers,28
4second-class side-wheel steamers,8
2steam tenders,4
69 1,346

Of this force the following were in commission, the remainder being in ordinary, dismantled, &c.:

1screw frigate,12
5first-class steam sloops,90
3side-wheel steamers,35
8second-class steam sloops,45
5third-class screw steamers,28
3side-wheel steamers,5
1steam tender,1
42 555

These vessels had a complement, exclusive of officers and marines, of about 7,600 men, and nearly all of them were on foreign stations. The home squadron consisted of twelve vessels, carrying 187 guns, and about 2,000 men. Of this squadron only four small vessels, carrying 25 guns and about 280 men, were in Northern ports.

With so few vessels in commission on our coast, and our crews in distant seas, the Department was very indifferently prepared to meet the exigency that was rising. Every movement was closely watched by the disaffected, and threatened to precipitate measures that the country seemed anxious to avoid. Demoralization prevailed among the officers, many of whom, occupying the most responsible positions, betrayed symptoms of that; infidelity which has dishonored the service. But while so many officers were unfaithful, the crews, to their honor be it recorded, were true and reliable, and have maintained, through every trial and under all circumstances, their devotion to the Union and the flag. Unfortunately, however, few comparatively of these gallant men were within the call of the Department at that eventful period. They, as well as the ships, were abroad.

Norfolk Navy Yard.

The sloop of war Cumberland, the flag-ship of Commodore Pendergrast, arrived opportunely in the Chesapeake on the 23d of March; [236] and as this was the only vessel of any considerable capacity in these waters that was manned, I detained her at Norfolk to await events that were gradually developing in Virginia and the adjoining States.

The Navy-Yard at Norfolk, protected by no fortress or garrison, has always been a favored depot with the Government. It was filled with arms and munitions, and several ships were in the harbor, dismantled and in ordinary, and in no condition to be moved, had there been men to move them. There were, however, no seamen there or on home stations to man these vessels, or even one of them of the larger class, and any attempt to withdraw them, or either of them, without a crew, would, in the then sensitive and disturbed condition of the public mind, have betrayed alarm and distrust, and been likely to cause difficulty.

Apprehensive, however, that action might be necessary, the commandant of the yard was, early in April, advised of this feeling, and cautioned to extreme vigilance and circumspection. These admonitions were a few days later repeated to Commodore McCauley. This commandant, whose patriotism and fidelity were not doubted, was surrounded by officers in whom he placed confidence; but most of them, as events soon proved, were faithless to the flag and the country.

On the 10th of April, Commodore McCauley was ordered to put the shipping and public property in condition to be moved and placed beyond danger, should it become necessary; but, in doing this, he was warned to take to steps that could give needless alarm. The steam frigate Merrimack could, it was believed, were here machinery in order, he made available in this emergency, not only to extricate herself, but the other shipping in the harbor. Not knowing, however, who could be confided in to take charge of her, a commander and two engineers were detailed to proceed to Norfolk for that purpose. Two days after, on the 12th of April, the Department directed that the Merrimack should be prepared to proceed to Philadelphia with the utmost despatch. It was stated that to repair the engine and put it in working condition would require four weeks. Discrediting this report, the engineer-in-chief was ordered to proceed forthwith in person, and attend to the necessary preparations.

On the 16th of April the commandant was directed to lose no time in placing armament on board the Merrimack, to get the Plymouth and Dolphin beyond danger, to have the Germantown in a condition to be towed out, and to put the more valuable public property, ordnance, stores, &c., on shipboard, so that they could, at any moment, be moved beyond danger.

Such were the energy and despatch of the engineer-in-chief that on the 16th the Department was advised by the commandant of the yard that on the 17th the Merrimack would be ready for temporary service; but when, on the afternoon of that day, the engineer-in-chief reported her ready for steam, Commodore McCauley refused to have her fired up. Fires were, however, built early the next morning, and at 9 o'clock the engines were working, engineers, firemen, &c., on board, but the commandant still refused to permit her to be moved, and in the afternoon gave directions to draw the fires. The cause of this refusal to move the Merrimack has no explanation other than that of misplaced confidence in his junior officers, who opposed it.

As soon as this fatal error was reported to the Department, orders were instantly issued to Commodore Paulding to proceed forthwith to Norfolk, with such officers and marines as could be obtained, and take command of all the vessels afloat on that station; to repel force by force, and prevent the ships and public property at all hazards from passing into the hands of the insurrectionists. But when that officer reached Norfolk, on the evening of Saturday, the 20th, he found that the powder magazine had already been seized, and that an armed force had commenced throwing up batteries in the vicinity. The commandant of the yard, after refusing to permit the vessels to be moved on Thursday, and omitting it on Friday, ordered them to be scuttled on Saturday evening, and they were sinking when Commodore Paulding, with the force under his command, arrived at Norfolk. This officer, knowing that to sink the ships would be only a temporary deprivation to the insurgents, who would, when in full possession of the place, again have them afloat, ordered the torch to be applied to the sinking ships. Pursuant to instructions, he also destroyed, so far as he was able with his limited force, the public property in the yard before abandoning the place.

The Cumberland was towed down the river, and passed, after some little delay, over the obstructions that had been sunk in the channel to prevent her removal.

This unfortunate calamity at Norfolk not only deprived the Government of several vessels, but of a large amount of ordnance and stores which had there accumulated. In preventing the shipping and property from passing into the hands of the insurgents, who had gathered in considerable force in that vicinity under Gen. Talliaferro, Commodore Paulding, the officers, and those under them, performed their duty, and carried out, so far as was in their power, the wishes of the Government and the instructions of the Department.

extraordinary measures.

The demonstration at Norfolk was but one of a series of measures that occurred at that juncture. Simultaneously with it, Baltimore appeared in insurrection, and by force and violence destroyed the railroad communication and cut off mail and telegraphic facilities between the seat of Government and the States [237] North. In this crisis it became necessary to act with promptness and vigor. There could be neither hesitation nor delay when the Government and the country were imperilled, and the Department took measures accordingly.

Believing that the emergency not only justified but absolutely required that all the public armed vessels should be forthwith completed and equipped for service, orders were given to that effect, and in addition thereto the commandants of the navy-yards in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, were directed to purchase or charter, arm, equip, and man steamers which, upon examination, might be found fit or easily convertible into armed vessels suitable for the public service, in order to support the Government and enforce the laws.

To carry into effect the proclamations whereby communication with the ports of the insurgent States was interdicted, and an embargo or blockade declared, it became necessary to concentrate almost all the naval force of the country upon the Atlantic coast, at and south of the Chesapeake Bay and in the Gulf of Mexico. This extensive line of seaboard, embracing an extent of nearly 3,000 miles, with its numerous harbors and inlets, was deemed too extensive for a single command, and the naval force to carry into effect the proclamation and execute the laws, has consequently been arranged into two squadrons. The command of the first of them, the Atlantic squadron, has been confided to Flag-officer Silas H. Stringham, and the second, or Gulf Squadron, is under command of Flag-officer William Mervine.

Before either of these gentlemen could appear on the station assigned him, Flag-officer Pendergrast, in command of the Home Squadron, established non-intercourse, and gave notice to foreigners of an embargo or effective blockade, at Hampton Roads, on April 30. It is due to this officer to say that he has rendered essential and active service, not only before but after the arrival of his senior on that station.

Flag-officer Stringham reached Hampton Roads with the Minnesota, his flag-ship, on the 13th of May, and entered upon his duties with such force as the Department in so brief a period was able to place at his disposal; and illegal commerce by the insurgents, in disregard of national laws, is almost entirely suppressed.

The Niagara, which arrived at Boston from Japan on the 24th of April, was immediately despatched to New York for necessary repairs, before proceeding off Charleston harbor, whither her energetic commander was directed and promptly repaired, to prevent illegal commerce from that port. In the mean time, information reached the Department of large shipments of arms and munitions of war in Europe, destined for New Orleans and Mobile. Believing it of primary importance that this shipment should, if possible, be intercepted, and its landing prevented, Capt. McKean was directed to proceed to the Gulf for that purpose; and the Harriet Lane was ordered to Charleston, to take the place of the Niagara before that port.

Flag-officer Mervine left Boston in the Mississippi in advance of his flag-ship, the Colorado, and arrived in the Gulf on the 8th of June. Previous to his arrival, an embargo or blockade of the Mississippi River, and some of the principal ports on the Gulf, had been commenced, and has been since vigorously maintained and enforced.

As the Constitution declares that “no preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one State over another,” and also that “no State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for its inspection laws; and the net produce of all duties and imposts shall be for the use of the Treasury of the United States;” and as in several of the States the insurgents had, in utter disregard and violation of these express provisions of the Constitution and the laws, assumed to give a preference, by unauthorized regulations of commerce or revenue, to the ports of certain States over the ports of other States, and had assumed, without consent of the Congress, to lay imposts or duties on imports and exports, and that, too, not for the use of the Treasury of the United States, but to deprive it of revenue, it became a duty of paramount necessity, acting under the express authority of the act of 1807, authorizing the use of the navy in “causing the laws to be executed,” to suppress by an armed naval force before the principal ports, these illegal and unconstitutional proceedings; to assert the supremacy of the Federal laws, and to prevent any preference, by commercial regulation, to tho ports of any of the States.

In carrying into effect these principles, and in suppressing the attempts to evade and resist them, and in order to maintain the Constitution, and execute the laws, it became necessary to interdict commerce at those ports where duties could not be collected, the laws maintained and executed, and where the officers of the Government were not tolerated or permitted to exercise their functions. In performing this domestic and municipal duty, the property and interests of foreigners became to some extent involved in our home questions, and with a view of extending to them every comity that the circumstances would justify, the rules of blockade were adopted, and, as far as practicable, made applicable to the cases that occurred under this embargo or non-intercourse of the insurgent States. The commanders of the squadrons were directed to permit the vessels of foreigners to depart within fifteen days, as in cases of actual effective blockade, and their vessels were not to be seized unless they attempted, after having been once warned off, to enter an interdicted port in disregard of such warning. [238]

The questions presented under this extraordinary conjuncture of affairs were novel, and not having been in all their extent anticipated by our laws, some further penal legislation, especially in relation to the law of forfeiture, may be needed to meet the exigency and render the Government more effective.

steam gun-boats and sloops.

The necessity of an augmentation of our navy in order to meet the crisis, aid in suppressing insurrection, and assist in causing the laws to be executed at all the ports, was immediately felt, and a class of vessels different in some respects from any that were in the service, to act as sentinels on the coast, was required. On the spur of the moment transport steamers were secured; but, though made capable of sustaining a small armament, they were not such vessels as would perform continuous duty off the harbors in all weathers. They will, it is believed, answer a temporary purpose for the summer months, but a stronger and different description of vessel is necessary for the autumn and winter. The Department, besides purchasing, has, therefore, contracted for the building of twenty-three gunboats, each of about five hundred tons burden; and has made preliminary arrangements for several larger and fleeter vessels, which shall not only aid in preventing illegal commerce, but be made particularly serviceable in suppressing depredations on that which is legal. Both of these classes are of sizes inferior to the sloops-of-war ordered by the last Congress.

The Department, in carrying the order of the last session into effect, directed the construction of two vessels at each of the four yards, making eight instead of seven to be built. In consequence of the great activity and heavy demands at all the yards to equip and prepare every available vessel for service, the construction of these sloops has been retarded, but is now being prosecuted with vigor, and we may expect they will be completed at the earliest possible period.

The authority for these purchases and contracts is to be found in the necessities and condition of the country and the times. The action of the Department may require the sanction of Congress to give it validity. If it shall be asserted that an error has been committed in thus providing for the wants of the service and the Government, a much greater error would have been committed, it is believed, in the omission to have made such provision under the existing necessities.

vessels in service.

Of the 69 vessels, carrying 1,346 guns, hereinbefore mentioned, as available for service on the 4th of March last, the Levant has been given up as lost in the Pacific; the steamer Fulton was seized at Pensacola; and one frigate, two sloops, and one brig were burnt at Norfolk. These vessels carried 172 guns. The other vessels destroyed at Norfolk were considered worthless, and are not included in the list of available vessels.

These losses left at the disposal of the Department 62 vessels, carrying 1,174 guns, all of which are now, or soon will be, in commission, with the exception of the--

Vermont, ship-of-the-line,84
Brandywine, frigate,50
Decatur, sloop, at San Francisco,16
John Hancock, steam-tender, at San Francisco,3

There have recently been added to the navy, by purchase, 12 steamers, carrying from 2 to 9 guns each, and 3 sailing vessels. There have been chartered 9 steamers, carrying from 2 to 9 guns each. By these additions the naval force in commission has been increased to 82 vessels, carrying upwards of 1,100 guns, and with a complement of about 13,000 men, exclusive of officers and marines. There are also several steamboats and other small craft which are temporarily in the service of the Department.

Purchases of sailing ships have been made for transporting coals to the steamers that are performing duty as sentinels before the principal harbors. It would be inexpedient and attended with much loss of time, as well as great additional expense, to compel the steamers when short of fuel to leave their stations and proceed to the nearest depot, distant in most cases several hundred miles, to obtain a supply. In the absence of any proper or suitable stations or buildings for storing coals, hulks have been provided, to be anchored at some convenient place for the use of the squadron.

The squadron on the Atlantic coast, under the command of Flag-Officer S. H. Stringham, consists of 22 vessels, 296 guns, and 3,300 men.

The squadron in the Gulf, under the command of Flag-Officer William Mervine, consists of 21 vessels, 282 guns, and 3,500 men.

Additions have been made to each of the squadrons of two or three small vessels, that have been captured and taken into the service. The steamers Pawnee and Pocahontas, and the flotilla under the late Commander Ward, with several steamboats in charge of naval officers, have been employed on the Potomac River, to prevent communication with that portion of Virginia which is in insurrection. Great service has been rendered by this armed force, which has been vigilant in intercepting supplies, and in protecting transports and supply vessels in their passage up and down the Potomac.

The flotilla, on the 27th ultimo, met with a serious and sad loss in the death of its gallant commander, James H. Ward, who died at his post, while covering the retreat of his men from the assault of an overpowering number of rebel enemies. In the death of Commander Ward the Navy has lost a brave officer, who has enriched it by military and scientific contributions, served it faithfully in varied spheres, and promised much for it in future. [239]

The squadron in the Pacific, under the command of Flag-Officer John B. Montgomery, consists of 6 vessels, 82 guns, and 1,000 men.

The West India squadron is under the command of Flag-Officer G. J. Pendergrast, who has been temporarily on duty, with his flag-ship, the Cumberland, at Norfolk and Hampton Roads, since the 23d of March. He will, at an early day, transfer his flag to the steam-frigate Roanoke, and proceed southward, having in charge our interests on the Mexican and Central American coasts, and in the West India Islands.

The East India, Mediterranean, Brazil, and African squadrons, excepting one vessel of each of the two latter, have been recalled.

The return of these vessels will add to the force for service in the Gulf and on the Atlantic coast about 200 guns and 2,500 men.

resignation and dismissal of officers.

Since the 4th of March two hundred and fifty-nine officers of the Navy have resigned their commissions or been dismissed from the service. This diminution of officers, at a time when the force was greatly enlarged, and when the whole naval armament of the country was put in requisition, has compelled the Department to send many of our public vessels to sea without a full complement of officers. To some extent this deficiency has been supplied by gentlemen formerly connected with the Navy, who had retired to civil pursuits in peaceable times, but who, in the spirit of true patriotism, came promptly forward in the hour of their country's peril, and made voluntary tender of their services to sustain the flag and the country. The Department gladly availed itself of the tender thus patriotically made, and received these gentlemen into the service in the capacity of acting Lieutenants. The alacrity with which they presented themselves for duty in any position the Government might assign thme, when others who had been the trusted and honored recipients of Government favors were deserting the standard, was no less honorable to them than to the profession which they adorned and the country which they loved.

enlistment of seamen.

The authorized increase of enlistment and the immediate establishment of naval rendezvous at all the principal seaports, with an abbreviation of the term of enlistment, enabled the Department to recruit a sufficient number of seamen to man the vessels added to the service with almost as much rapidity as they could be prepared, armed, and equipped. Only one or two ships have experienced any detention for want of a crew, and none beyond two or three days. At no period of our history has the naval force had so great and rapid an increase, and never have our seamen come forward with more alacrity and zeal to serve the country.

the Naval Academy.

The Naval School and public property at Annapolis attracted the attention of the disloyal and disaffected about the period when the conspiracy culminated. Some demonstrations were made to wards seizing the property, and also the frigate Constitution, which had been placed at Annapolis, in connection with the school, for the benefit of the youths who were being educated for the public service. Prompt measures rescued the frigate and Government property from desecration and plunder, and the young men, under the superintendence and guidance of Capt. Blake, contributed, in no small degree, to the result. As it was impossible, in the then existing condition of affairs in Annapolis and in Maryland, to continue the school at that point, and as the valuable public property was in jeopardy, it became necessary to remove the institution elsewhere. Newport, R. I., presented many advantages, and the War Department tendered Fort Adams for the temporary occupation of the students, which was at once accepted, and the school, with the frigate and other public property, were removed thither. Although the numbers at the school are reduced by the resignation of nearly every student from the insurrectionary region, and a call of the elder classes to active professional duty, the younger classes that remain form a nucleus reestablish and give vitality to the institution.

Some legislation will be necessary, not only in relation to what has been done, but with a view to the future continued success of the school, which has already accomplished so much towards the efficiency and elevation of the Navy. By the existing law the appointment of students can be made only upon recommendation of the member of Congress from the district in which the applicant resides, and in case he omits to make selection of a suitable person there is no way provided to fill the vacancy. In consequence of this regulation the school has not its authorized number, for nearly one-third of the districts neglect or refuse to be represented at the academy, and there is no legal way of supplying this deficiency from other districts, although the applications are numerous.

Congress must provide for this deficit, and it is, moreover, worthy of consideration, whether for a period, at least, the numbers in the school should not be increased, until a full complement of officers is supplied.

Ordnance Department.

In the ordnance branch of the service there has been great activity, and the works at the Navy Yard in this city have been in constant operation, day and night, to meet, as far as possible, the extraordinary demands that have been made. When the late Commandant of the Washington Yard, on the 22d of April, declined further connection with the Government, and was dismissed the service, it was believed that the true interest of the country would be promoted by placing the yard and foundry in [240] charge of the efficient and capable officer whose reputation in connection with ordnance is national. If his rank did not, according to usage, entitle him to the position, his merit did. To obviate difficulty, and place that branch of the service in proper working condition, I would recommend that there be appointed an officer, to be known as the Director of Ordnance, who shall, under the Department, have the immediate supervision of the manufacture, description, and supply of ordnance for the Navy, in all its details.

the Observatory.

The Observatory, for many years under the superintendence of an officer who had gained distinguished reputation in connection with the institution, was abandoned by him in a very abrupt manner on the 20th of April. On receiving intelligence that he had, without previous intimation of his intention, deserted the post that had been confided to him, a gentleman eminently adapted to the place, who had, moreover, been early identified with the Observatory, was at once placed in the position. It gives me pleasure to say that in many respects the change has been an improvement, while I trust that neither the country nor the cause of science will experience any detriment therefrom.

A change or modification of the law regulating the Navy ration seems necessary to meet the existing condition of things. Nearly the whole of the present naval strength of the country is employed on a particular service, which extends along the coast, an effective force being stationed at each of the principal harbors. It is important that the vessels should remain on duty at their stations as long as possible, to guard the coast and prevent illegal commerce. That they may do this satisfactorily, it is essential that the crews have frequent supplies of fresh provisions and other necessaries conducive to health. The Department has already so far innovated as to send forward a cargo of fresh supplies, and it proposes to continue thus to supply the crews of the squadron until the insurrection is suppressed. Provisions and stores will in this manner be despatched with supplies of all kinds that may be required for the subsistence and health of the crews. Communication with each of the principal stations will be established by these despatch boats, which will carry to and receive from the squadrons letters, convey recruits, bring home invalids, and while performing these services will also discharge coast guard duty.

increase of surgeons.

An increase of the number of Surgeons and Assistant-Surgeons is also recommended, in conformity with the suggestions of the Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. A copy of his report is herewith transmitted. The deficiencies that at present exist will doubtless soon be filled, but the full complement allowed by the existing law is inadequate to the present requirements of the service.

Acting Paymasters.

The additional number of vessels employed called for additional paymasters beyond the number limited by law, and the Department, under the existing necessity, appointed Acting Paymasters. Where this appointment has been necessary it has usually been connected with that of Captain's Clerk, who has been required to give bonds for the money intrusted to his hands, and his confidential relations with his commander have been such that it has been deemed a further security. I would recommend that there be an increase of the corps of Paymasters, or perhaps it may be well to have a class of Assistant Paymasters at a less compensation and with less responsibility. The minor appointment may be made a preliminary step to the more important office of Paymaster.

increase of the Marine corps.

It became necessary to enlarge the Marine Corps, in order that it should correspond in some degree with the general increase of other branches of the service. Under the authority of the Act of Congress of 1849, two additions have been made to this corps, which now consists of 2,500 privates, but the officers, except in the force composing the staff, remain the same in point of numbers as when the corps consisted of but 1,000 men. This number is altogether insufficient, and it is therefore recommended that there be an additional number created, and if the session is sufficiently prolonged an entire reorganization of the corns may be expedient.

masters and masters' Mates.

There has been, from necessity, a large number of acting masters and masters' mates appointed from the commercial marine to meet the wants of the service. These officers, generally of great experience and intelligence, and occupying the highest position in the merchant service, have voluntarily come forward and offered themselves for useful duty on board our public vessels, where they are contributing to the efficiency of the Navy.

iron-Clad steamers, or floating batteries.

Much attention has been given, within the last few years, to the subject of floating batteries, or iron-clad steamers. Other governments, and particularly France and England, have made it a special object, in connection with naval improvements; and the ingenuity and inventive faculties of our own countrymen have also been stimulated, by recent occurrences, towards the construction of this class of vessels. The period is, perhaps, not one best adapted to heavy expenditures by the way of experiment, and the time and attention of some of those who are most competent to investigate and form correct conclusions on this subject, are otherwise employed. I would, however, recommend the appointment of a proper and competent board to inquire into and report in regard to a [241] measure so important; and it is for Congress to decide whether, on a favorable report, they will order one or more iron-clad steamers, or floating batteries, to be constructed, with a view to perfect protection from the effects of present ordnance at short range, and make an appropriation for that purpose.

It is nearly twenty years since a gentleman of New Jersey, possessing wealth and talent, projected the construction of a floating battery, and the Government aided the work by a liberal appropriation. The death of this gentleman a few years since interrupted the prosecution of this experiment, and application has been recently made by his surviving brother, the authorities of New Jersey, and others, for additional means to carry it forward to completion. The amount asked is of such magnitude as to require special investigation by a competent board, who shall report as to the expediency and practicability of the experiment before so large an expenditure should be authorized.

increase in clerical force.

An increase in the clerical force of the Department is indispensable, and its organization may be in some respects modified and improved. The present session having been called for special purposes, it may be deemed inexpedient to enter upon general legislation; but the greatly increased labor renders it necessary that there should be a temporary increase of clerks, and I would, in this connection, and as a part of this improvement and addition, recommend an Assistant Secretary of the Navy, on whom might be devolved many of the details that now occupy no inconsiderable portion of the time of the Secretary, and from which he might be relieved.

The Levant sloop-of-war, Commander Wm. E. Hunt, sailed from Panama in May, 1860, for the Sandwich Islands, for the purpose of inquiring, at the suggestion of the Department of State, into the disbursement at those islands of the fund for the relief of destitute American seamen. She reached her destination safely, and the investigations were conducted by Commander Hunt at the ports of Honolulu, Lahaina, and Hilo. The last official intelligence received by the Department from the Levant was a communication from Commander Hunt, dated Hilo, Sept. 3, 1860. He expected to take his departure in a short time for Panama. Not arriving at that port by January, Flag-Officer Montgomery despatched the steamers Saranac and Wyoming in search of her. The latter visited the Sandwich Islands and various localities on the route, making every possible inquiry for her. But no tidings of her were obtained, although it was definitely ascertained that she had sailed from Hilo on the 18th of September, 1860, direct for Panama. All hopes for her safety have long since been abandoned, and it now devolves on Congress, as in previous instances, to make such legislation as may be just and proper for the benefit of the families of the lamented officers and crew who perished with her.

The following captures of vessels engaged in the Slave-trade have been made since those mentioned in the last annual report of this Department:

Bark Cora, captured on the coast of Africa, Sept. 26, 1860, by the United States sloop Constellation, Capt. J. S. Nicholas, with a cargo of 705 Africans, 694 of which were delivered to the United States agent at Monrovia.

Brig Bonita, captured on the coast of Africa, Oct. 10, 1860, by the United States steamer San Jacinto, Capt. T. A. Dornin, with a cargo of 750 Africans on board, 616 of which were delivered to the United States agent at Monrovia.

Brig Tuccoa, captured on the coast of Cuba, Dec. 20, 1860, by the United States steamer Mohawk, Lieutenant Commanding T. A. M. Craven.

Bark Mary Kimball, captured on the coast of Cuba, Dec. 21, 1860, by the United States steamer Mohawk, Lieutenant Commanding T. A. M. Craven.

Ship Nightingale, captured on the coast of Africa, April 21, 1861, by the United States sloop-of-war Saratoga, Commander Alfred Taylor, with 961 Africans on board, 801 of which were delivered to the United States agent at Monrovia.

The Cora and Nightingale were sent to New York; the Bonita to Charleston, and subsequently to Savannah; and the Tuccoa and Mary Kimball to Key West, and delivered into the custody of the proper officers.


In discharging the duties that pertain to this Department, and which have devolved upon it during the brief period it has been intrusted to my hands, I have shrunk from no responsibilities; and if, in some instances, the letter of the law has been transcended, it was because the public necessities required it. To have declined the exercise of any powers but such as were clearly authorized and legally defined, when the Government and the country were assailed and their existence endangered, would have been an inexcusable wrong, and a cowardly omission. When, therefore, the Navy was called into requisition to assist not only in maintaining the Constitution and to help execute the laws, but to contribute in upholding the Government itself against a great conspiracy, I did not hesitate, under your direction, to add to its strength and efficiency by chartering, purchasing, building, equipping, and manning vessels, expanding the organization and accepting the tender of services from patriotic individuals, although there may be no specific legal enactment for some of the authority that has been exercised.

Submitted herewith are supplemental estimates from the several bureaus to meet deficiencies in the appropriations for the naval [242] service for the fiscal year just closed, and for the year ending June 30, 1862.

The appropriations for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1862, amount in the aggregate to $13,18,675 86. The estimates now submitted amount to $30,609,520 29. For a detailed statement of these estimates I refer to the reports of the chiefs of the bureaus.

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy. To the President of the United States.

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