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The San Francisco Daily Morning Call, July 14, 1864


Yesterday, General McDowell, accompanied by his Staff and many military officers, officials and civilians, made a tour of inspection of the harbor defences about the Bay of San Francisco. Many gentlemen had been invited to be of the party, and many answered by their presence. Besides Major General McDowell and Staff, were Brigadier General Wright and Staff, Brigadier-General Mason, Captain Van Vost, Provost Marshal, and other officers of the Army; Commander Woodworth of the Navy; Governor Low and suite; Mr. Redding, Secretary of State; Judges Field and Hoffman, of the U.S. Court; the Collector of the Port, Colonel James; Mr. Farwell, Naval officer; Dr. McLean, Surveyor of the Port; Captain Chenery, Navy Agent; Mayor Coon; Postmaster Perkins; Hon. Mr. Benton, Judge Lake, General Allen, General Carpenter, Wm. T. Coleman, and many other citizens whose names are not just now recollected, and several members of the Press, last but not least, always around where items are to be picked up, shells to be exploded, or corks to be drawn. A little after nine o'clock the "Goliah" left Broadway wharf with her precious freight. We could not help reflecting, should she blow up or sink, what a suit with bright buttons Neptune might wear, and how Army, Navy, Executive, Judiciary, Customs, Municipal and Civil Services would suffer. Away went the pleasant company, steaming down the Bay towards Fort Point. The company - those not before acquainted - were introduced to General McDowell, and each and all seemed delighted with his frank and genial manner, his quietly social disposition, his soldierly appearance and bearing, and the facility with which he at once put every one at ease.

FORT POINT. - At the Fort he was received with his appropriate salute. The different parts of the fortifications were inspected by the General and his guests. To the eye of a civilian, the works and their warlike appliances appeared formidable and in excellent condition for service. There was but one exception. From the barbette, some shell practice was had, the target being on the opposite shore, at Lime Point. But the fuses proved imperfect, the shells exploding almost immediately upon starting on their journey. This of course will be at once remedied. After the shelling, the troops were drawn up within the Fort and were reviewed by General McDowell and Governor Low; the Band playing appropriate music. The officer of the day in command of the troops, is a gentleman who won his commission by meritorious service in eleven battles at the East. We regret that we have not his name. The party then returned to the steamer and started across the Bay towards that famous spot of which all have heard not a little for years past -

LIME POINT. - The steamer ran close along the northern shore for a considerable distance, allowing an excellent opportunity for judging of the superior qualities the formation affords for a strong fortification. It can readily be transformed into a second Gibraltar. The position is needed by Government, which should take it, and leave the consideration of pay to the future. Next the steamer was headed up the Bay, and the company invited below to partake of a lunch. That this interesting incident was all that could be desired will appear evident by saying that it was prepared at the "Occidental," and that Leland himself was present to see that chicken salad and champagne were properly dispensed. Soon the steamer reached the wharf at

ANGELS' ISLAND. - Here another salute greeted the General, who, with his guests, inspected the fortifications there fast growing into formidable proportions and condition. The little valley lying between the Point at the entrance of Raccoon Straits, on which is a battery destined to guard that passage, and the high point to the south, where there is another new work, nearly ready for use, bears the appearance of a pleasant little village, with white houses and fixings, indicative of officers' families, soldiers' barracks, and domestic life. From this abode of the Angels the company proceeded through Raccoon Straits - beautiful sheet of water - around Angels' Island, and as they were passing the eastern end, all of a sudden found themselves saluted by scores of white handkerchiefs on shore, which was answered in kind, and with splendid music by the fine band of the Ninth infantry. A picnic party were on shore, and gave this very pleasing incident to the excursion. Passing the Point, the company had an opportunity to view the preparations for the battery there, apparently nearly ready for mounting its guns and then steamed across, and landed at

ALCATRACES, under a thundering salute from the southern batteries. A general examination of the whole Island and its defences followed; then a partaking of the hospitalities of Capt. Winder, Commandant of the Post, and shell practice from the northwestern battery. The shells here were in better condition, and the practice more satisfactory. The reported number of guns on the Island now, and to be, differs, ranging from ninety to one hundred and eighty. The exact number is not material. There are enough to knock any fleet that can ever come within reach into splinters. Leaving Alcatraces, after an inspection of the forces there, with another salute, the steamer's prow was pointed toward Yerba Buena Island - a look was had, while passing, at the positions yet to be fortified - and she passed up the Bay to the mouth of Mission Creek, past the Aquila - of which ship some of our readers have heard occasionally - and then back along the city front, the band playing national and other airs, to Broadway wharf, the place of starting. The General knows whether the inspection was satisfactory in a military light. We do not. But it may be said that the trip was exceedingly pleasant and satisfactory to all the guests of the gallant soldier to whose courtesy they were indebted for the delightful excursion.

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