To Andrew H. Foote

[January 23, 1862]

The President wishes the rafts with their 13 inch mortars and all appointments to be ready for use at the earliest possible moment. What can we do here to advance this? What is lacking? What is being done, so far as you know? Telegraph us every day, showing the progress, or lack of progress in this matter.

The following endorsement was written by Henry A. Wise of the Navy Bureau of Ordnance on the bottom of Lincoln’s message: “Telegraphic dispatch written by President Lincoln for Flag Officer Foote and sent by H. A. Wise U.S.N. 23 Jan 1862 3.15 P.M.” Wise enclosed the autograph message with a letter of the same date as follows: “My dear Foote, I am just from the President, who is stirring up the army ordnance with a sharp stick about mortars. He said to me, ‘Now I am going to devote a part of every day to these mortars and I wont leave off until it fairly rains Bombs.’ I send you his autograph which may interest you.”  Foote replied by telegraph on January 24, “Telegraph of 23d. received last evening. I have sent an officer to Pittsburgh, to ascertain the condition of the mortars and mortar beds, and to hurry their completion. My last dispatch, from Pittsburgh, states that but one is ready . . .”. Foote was preparing the iron-plated gunboats built by James B. Eads for support of Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant’s movement up the Tennessee River. The movement began on February 6. 


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