could be effected on these against opposition without shallow-draught gunboats, to lie nearer shore on the flanks of the landing force. Such, I am told-for I have had no suitable boat to reconnoiter-is the case at Mississippi City, Biloxi, and Pensacola. I have thought that the Rigolets would be a good point to attack, but my knowledge of that region is limited.
In fine, there does not appear to me to be any adaptation of means to any particular end in this quarter of the country. Many of the vessels are of an inferior class, and their armament generally behind the improvements of the times. With suitable vessels Mobile Harbor might be entered, it seems to me, and Fort Morgan taken in reverse.
I shall send by this opportunity estimates for clothing for the troops here, to include the entire year, and must also suggest that one good clerk would probably keep the army supplied with all the blanks that they would require.
A tug(the Reamy) was sent to this station in the month of December by Colonel Brown from Fort Pickens. I kept her until recently, when, as there was not much for her to do and as there appeared to be no prospect of more troops arriving, I sent her back to Fort Pickens, with instructions, if not wanted there, to go to Key West, and if not wanted there, to bring us a mail. She is too small for any considerable gun, carries none, and is deep-draught for her size. We used her part of the time in towing down rafts of logs from the upper end of the island for fire-wood. The pay of the crew is a considerable item of expense.
I must refer again to the necessity of greater powers than are possessed by any one at the Gulf stations. We may have some cases for general court-martial, and such as would render it convenient to have the Tortugas as a place of confinement.
Some cases of discharge and leaves of absence occur which are beyond any powers possessed in this region that I am aware of. I have felt compelled to transcend mine in the case of Surgeon Hooker, of the Twenty-sixth Massachusetts Volunteers, whom I have allowed permission to go home on sick leave.
I will endeavor to make the most of this expedition for the service, for it would be sad to see the energies and generous impulses of the people wasted in such movements. It would be better, not to use them at all than to use them without a well-defined object. It is a quarter of the country needs the attention of the Government, though it is a difficult region to operate in, as the British movement against New Orleans will prove. There is an iron English steamship in harbor, laden with cotton, which was taken by the Navy near the mouth of the Rio Grande. From what I hear, an ingenious question may arise as to whether she was at the time of capture in American or Mexican waters. The flag-officer is not here. If I had control in the case I would keep her until the occasion for making an issue out of her capture should be passed, for if we cannot settle our own affairs without the interference of foreign powers, we have not only self-government, but also our independence.
Out of some 40 mechanics who have been employed on the island I have decided to sent home some 17 or more. Should their services be needed, their places can be supplied by soldiers.
I would suggest again that prompt communication between this region and the seat of Government is necessary, in order to derive the full value from what the Government has already dome here.
I have written more at length than I proposed, indulging in words for want of action.