COLONEL WILLIAM A. HOWARD - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 11/05/1864 - HFSID 174719
Sale Price $680.00
COLONEL WILLIAM A. HOWARD (CIVIL WAR)
War-dated letter from the Colonel reporting the status of the Navy on the coast of Maine.
Autograph Letter signed: "W.A. Howard", 3 pages (integral), 7¾x10. Headquarters, 13th Artillery, Fort Haslett near Portsmouth, Virginia, 1864 November 5. To "My Dear Fessenden" Senator, Washington D.C. In full: "If the Tallahassee and one of those smart Rebel privateers are permitted to jump on Coast again, it will to the eternal defiance of the Revenue Service, it was known a week since the 'Tuleen Lassel' has sailed from Wilmington & the officers of the Rev Service should know where she would strike. I warned Mr. Chase of the movements that would be made, have taken this have been uprooted again and again. I armed & manned the Cutters to be a match for any of these vessels., but when consent prevailed, the vessels are stripped of their men and excuse for the officers, while in part the Puttama Curtain. I gave a long 32 p. rifle and even [illegible] 12 inch 45 mm. She was capable of defending nearly the whole coast of Maine against any vessels & the money had affect, but she was captured in her run but one time a struggle and by twelve men. After I went in furlough, reading the Proposals of the Department for the building of Steam cutters. I had a communication laid before Mr. Chase shrouding the absurdity of those proposals. That they would be failures complete [illegible] they were suspended. Months after when proposals were issued & the vessel built but the fatal errors in the former were not remedied in the latter. Steam in Cruising Cutters should be auxiliary, Sails the main power to effect this the Screw (a propeller) should be detached & taken out of water , and then the vessel should be as fast sailing as any vessels after Steam to be used only in cases of emergency.. In chase with Sliam [sic] & sails nothing could escape one of these vessels. They could remain at sea as long as provision last will on so long as coal, say 8 or 10 ships & an expense the Seas Department never would tolerate. If vessels are not some immediately from the Eastern Coast ship 'Tallahassee' will stop the whole coast of Main & the Bank of our returning fishermen & European trader who are clinging to the [illegible ink blots] (Cape Rae & Isabel) to make good passages. Excuse me for writing you on army subject connected with your duties, but the truth of the matter is I cannot see a branch of Service that is so capable of being one immediate benefit to the Country than any other Army. So miserably mis-managed, without expressing my terms. The officers are under the impression they are not for service work cruising for pirates. Smugglers and vessels in distress but for church parties and gunning expedition, they are hardly to blame for they have no head to direct them in their minimal duties and collectors of [illegible] and pleased to uses them in the more pleasant service. The coast of Maine requires your largest & best appropriate Steamers, the service requires it why should blockade runners be allowed to pass our very dams from the Provinces? A very slight assistance brings into pass will safety one feebly manned merchant vessels approaching one dinky coast with a go ton schooner I took in. 21 vessels in thriving winters in the Coast of Maine, what might a strong over formed Steamer not large and made the same circumstances. I could write a week on this subject for its nearest my heart I believe. Why did not Shipley let me know you were in New York 24 hours. I was within a mile of you, be promised faithfully to do say, I could show you a splendid line of works and one of the best Regiments as she it. Frank was with you also. I was much disappointed. You are passing but of the Henton as I rode into town I think our political prospects and good the Army will go strong for the Gov. I fear very little, if any thing more will be done in front of Richmond for some time. I think they are stronger than estimated. How is your health, and Fran's you can't imagine how angry I was with Shipley. Such selfish me. My kind regard to Frank ask him to answer this for I know you and believe me as I am Your friend " William A. HOWARD (1807-1871) was a veteran Coast Guard officer who commanded a detachment of marine artillery during battles on the Carolina coast during the Civil War. At the beginning of the war, he was commissioned as a Colonel of the 1st New York Heavy Artillery in the defenses around Portsmouth & Norfolk. Earlier in his career, when he commanded the revenue cutter Jackson, he was said to look so resplendent in his Coast Guard uniform that naval officers pressured Navy Secretary Levi Woodbury to remove epaulettes from Coast Guard uniforms. In the years before the Civil War, he was in private business as a shipbuilder. William Pitt FESSENDEN (1806-1869) had resigned a seat in the U.S. Senate to assume, at the personal behest of President Lincoln, the Cabinet post of Treasury Secretary after the resignation of Secretary Chase. Fessenden, who as Chairman the important Senate Finance Committee (1861-1864) had played an important role in raising revenues for the Union cause, but he served at Treasury for only eight months (July 5, 1864 - March 3, 1865). Thereafter he returned to the Senate, becoming chairman of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction. Lightly creased. File holes at left edge. Corners worn. Toned. Ink note (unknown hand) on verso. Otherwise, fine condition.
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