Mr. Harvey to Mr. Seward
Sir: Inasmuch as sufficient time has elapsed for the United States steamer Sacramento to come here from Cadiz, in response to my urgent request of the 2d instant, and as she had not appeared, and no reply had been received to my telegram, I made inquiry of our consul at that port yesterday, and was surprised to learn that she had started on Saturday, (the 4th instant,) at 2 p. m., for Vigo.
Without having any information upon the subject, I presume this movement has been made in consequence of the cruiser Shenandoah being reported at Corunna, seeking repairs. I find myself, therefore, without any resource to confront the various emergencies to which reference was made in my despatch yesterday.
Superadded to the causes of anxiety already stated, a telegram in the Spanish papers received this morning contains the following information:
“Ferrol, 1st.—The confederate war steamer Stonewall has just entered this port in distress, with damages, from Copenhagen.”[Page 105]
As Ferrol is a little to the northward of Corunna, it is possible that the vessel named in the foregoing telegram may be the same referred to in Mr. Perry’ s despatch, (communicated in my No. 316 yesterday,) of the 4th instant, under the name of the Shenandoah; for, according to previous accounts, the steamer Shenandoah was committing depredations along the coast of Brazil.
A telegram from our minister at Brussels, in reply to mine of Saturday, the 4th instant, requesting him to notify the united States steamer Niagara of the state of facts hereabouts, informs me—
“Niagara sailed yesterday morning. Copy of your despatch forwarded to Graven, at Dover.
“Brussels, February 5,1865.”
In view of the actual situation, and of the disappointment occasioned by the departure of the United States steamer Sacramento in another direction, I have just now addressed the following telegram to Mr. Adams at London:
“Lisbon, February 6—11½ a. m.
“Hon. Charles Francis Adams,
“Minister of the United States, London:
“Please inform Commodore Craven immediately that several rebel cruisers are in these waters, and that his presence is urgently needed. Niagara is at Dover.
“JAMES E. HARVEY.”
It will thus be seen that every precaution has been taken to provide for the pressing exigency, which never would have existed if the suggestions derived from positive and costly experience that have been presented, urged, and repeated time and again during the last three years, had been regarded as worthy of attention by the proper department.
Efficient steps have been taken for a thorough investigation in regard to the suspicious steamer Ajax, now in the Tagus.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.