Monday 7th [October 1861]
Papa has sent cousin Jack and Bob Minor with his infernal machines one to blow up the Minnesota, the other the Wabash on Thursday night.
If they succeed and he is not telegraphed to leave before then, his orders may be recalled. If it is right God grant that they may be successful.
Papa is to leave in a yacht from New Orleans, and will receive a telegram as soon as it is ready.
He has been writing a series of letters lately on ‘Our Navy’ signed “Ben Bow”. Says we want a smooth water Navy – a Navy for our bays and creeks. If he could get an appropriation of one million dollars – what the Minnesota cost – he could build a hundred little steam launches of two guns each. At the distance of two miles they would present a very small target to the enemy, and a dozen of them could pop away at one big ship until they sunk her, our guns being as effective as those of the enemy. “Big guns and little ships” is his thing.