War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0679 Chapter XVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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General LORENZO THOMAS,

Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: There is not much of importance to communicate from my command.

The period of maximum cold has passed; warm weather is approaching, and some provision must be made for it in any plan of operations that may be adopted for this region of country. The climate is so damp that our tents mildew speedily and threaten a rapid decay.

One of the regiments here, the Ninth Connecticut, is very much in want of clothing of all kinds. Instead of coats, blouses are the best for this climate.

At the hazard of frequent repetition I must again refer to the subject of blanks. Another muster day will soon be at hand, and if we are not soon supplied with blanks it will be difficult, if not impossible, to make out the rolls. Matters of this kind are of great importance to the discipline and accountability of the troops.

By the Milton we received a small engine, which is now at work unloading that ship. Temporary store-houses have been constructed, and a bake-house will soon go into operation. The 9-inch shell gun on navy carriages is being put up to the number of ten, but I am in hopes that Sawyer's rifled 24-pounder and 8 or 10 inch columbiads will be sent to replace them. I would take this occasion to state, as my opinion, that if the 42-pounder were bored for Sawyer's 24-pounder it would be the best heavy ordnance that we have, either for land or sea service.

Several of the men of the regiments and battery are considered unfit for service, and I have concluded to send them back to New England, with a view to their discharge. There officers have tendered their resignations, which I shall forward to your office for acceptance, at the same time allowing them to return with the men to Lowell, Mass., where they will be directed to await action on their resignations from your office.

Some arrangement seems called for with a view to the regular transmission of intelligence between the posts of the Gulf station and the North. We have been here nearly two months, and have yet received no communication from any military source and but very few letters or papers of andy kind.

Intelligence from Washington occasionally reaches us through the rebels and the Navy. We are thus informed that the Constitution has landed her troops at Old Point.

Our field of view and our sphere of action are both limited here, but form general appearances I should suppose it well to be provided against the contingency of collision with some foreign power-at least to the extent of having an unobstructed channel of communication open for the receipt of intelligence and supplies.

It might be well, perhaps, to fortify this point more strongly than I have proposed, even against immediate contingencies.

I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. W. PHELPS,

Brigadier-General Volunteers.

SHIP ISLAND, MISS., February 3, 1862.

General LORENZO THOMAS,

Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I write on the occasion of the gunboat Massachusetts being about to sail for the North.