well advanced, and I had begun to doubt whether there was any definite planed to the movement in this quarter, or if there was, whether it had not been abandoned. A plan ought rather to precede operations than follow them. What I am to do with four regiments, which such means as I possess, is more than I can conjuncture.
Recent rains have so flooded part of the island that two regiments cannot well be maneuvered upon it in line without marching through water.
The troops which have just arrived have apparently suffered from the long continuance of their voyage since its first commencement. Two of their number have been carried to their graves to-day and another is reported as at the point of death. The mail which was to have been brought by the Constitution, but which was put on board the Pensacola, has not yet arrived, so that I am still without any military intelligence from the headquarters since our departure from the North.
I have to acknowledge the receipt of some blanks, but am sorry to find that they contain no company muster rolls nor quartermaster's returns. Another muster is close at hand, and I have no blanks for the occasion. There seems to be a want of system in furnishing blanks, which I cannot comprehend.
There are now in position upon the island twelve guns, viz, ten 9-inch guns on heavy carriages and two 12-pounder rifled brass pieces, besides several smaller guns for a field battery. I have found it difficult, to get enough cartridge-bags for the 9-inch guns, and am accordingly without a sufficient number of rounds for those guns.
I shall endeavor to improve the drill of the command as much as possible, as one sure advantage that may be deprived from our condition. In other respects six shallow-draught boats, with a heavy armament of Sawer guns, might enable us to move, and perhaps to effect something. We might, perhaps, be called upon by the people of New Orleans to assist them against the conspirators, though I have seen no evidence of such a spirit yet. Two of their boats have been reconnoitering us to-day, and with the usual timidity which they have displayed on every occasion that we have observed them. They are doubtless aware of the arrival of the Constitution, and came to see what she had brought. Our boats usually make towards them, and they run, occasionally firing a few ineffectual rounds.
I am mistaken in saying that I have received no military intelligence from the North. I have received one item, which is the refusal of certain staff officers for whom I applied several months since. As Captain Butler learns that his nomination as commissary has been rejected by the Senate, and excepts soon to retire, I shall have to supply his place with such persons as I can find. I say persons, because he has been doing the duty of quartermaster as well as commissary, and the duties henceforward will be quite enough for two-quite enough for officers of the rank of captain, which I cannot appoint. I must choose lieutenants, and on comparatively short acquittance. Had I been allowed my own choice, a particular object with me would have been to shut out own as far as possible speculations upon public calamities, which I shall still endeavor to do as far as I am able.
As a summary of our military position I would state that the island is no place for so large a force as is here collected (upwards of 3,500 men), and that to take up any other position among the exceedingly shallow waters of this coast peculiar means beyond which we possess are necessary. Some of the wharves on the other side, I am told, are nearly a mile in length, with but 7 feet of water at the end. No landing
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