Today in History:

140 Series I Volume L-II Serial 106 - Pacific Part II


River, I have received a letter from First Lieutenant G. H. Elliot, of the Engineers, who has recently been engaged in a survey of the mouth of this river with a view to the erection of fortifications. He says that Point Ellen (two miles above Point Adams) is the most important position to fortify, as it is above the point of junction of both channels. There he would place the largest number of guns, and recommends that I should apply for 13 or 15 inch Rodman guns to be placed at that point. for a battery on Cape Disappointment, commanding the north channel, now most used, which approaches very near the cape, he recommends rifled cannon, which can be fired at great angles of depression. The cape is high, and on the approach of a vessel the danger is that the firing would be too high. If depression carriages can be sent with them he thinks such guns would be very desirable. If, therefore, you have not already acted upon my communication of the 27th of August I desire now to modify it. I will ask you to answer my requisition and that of General Wright of the 13th of October, 1860, by forwarding forty Rodman guns and twenty Parrott rifled guns, with depression carriages. With these should be forwarded all the necessary appurtenances, platforms, &c., and 400 rounds of ammunition for each piece. This I ask if it concurs with your judgment, for which I have the highest respect. In fact, remote as we are here from all sources of correct information as to the improvements in ordnance, we cannot emply very definite language in our requisitins r, &c. We must necessarily defer to your better knowledge, aware that in asking the Ordnance Department for these articles now we are applying to a department whose time and resources are severely taxed in this war. But I trust that you, general, having visited this region in person, will know and remember our wants, and will concur with us in believing that the commencement of defenses should not be deferred until foreign war is upon us. A vessel or vessels can no doubt be chartered to sail from New York direct to Astoria or this post with the articles. Lieutenant Elliot thinks they should be landed at Astoria or at this post. A large share, at all events, of the articles shipped should come to the Vancouver ordnance depot. An officer who recently visited Vancouver Island informs me that the British naval authorities are landing from their ships 68-ponders to establish a battery at the mouth of Esquimault Harbor. This communication is forwarded through Colonel R. E. De Russy, of the Engineers, at San Francisco, who is requested to forward it to your office.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding District.

Fort Vancouver, Wash. Ter., September 30, 1862.

Lieutenant Colonel R. E. DE RUSSY,

Corps of Engineers, San Francisco, Cal.:

COLONEL: Herewith I inclose to you a letter* to the Chief of Ordnance which asks for heavy ordnance for the mouth of the Columbia. I have left blank the number of guns and have respectfully to request that you will insert the number of each kind which according to your judgment it is judicious now to ask for. I have written in pencil forty


* See next, ante.