To-morrow being the birthday of Washington, I propose to celebrate the occasion with a national salute of thirty-four guns, a parade of the troops, national airs, &c. Recent favorable news from the valley of the Mississippi, brought from New Orleans by a captured steamer, gives us particular satisfaction, and awakens new hopes of the speedy down-fall of the conspirators.
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. W. PHELPS,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA, Numbers 6.
Fort Pickens, February 22, 1862.
In compliance with the instructions of the General-in-Chief of the Army, dated Headquarters of the Army, Adjutant-General's Office, Washington, January 29, 1862 (directing Colonel Harvey Brown to turn over the command of the Department of Florida to Brigadier General Lewis G. Arnold, U. S. Volunteers), the undersigned assumes command of the department.
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L. G. ARNOLD,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, February 23, 1862.
Major General BENJAMIN F. BUTLER,
U. S. Volunteers:
GENERAL: You are assigned to the command of the land forces destined to co-operate worth the Navy in the attack upon New Orleans. You will use every means to keep your destination a profound secret, even from your staff officers, with the exception of your chief of staff, and Lieutenant Weitzel, of the Engineers. The force at your disposal will consist of the first thirteen regiments named in your memorandum handed to me in person, the Twenty-first Indiana, Fourth Wisconsin, and Sixth Michigan (Old and good regiments from Baltimore). The Twenty-First Indiana, Fourth Wisconsin, and Sixth Michigan will await your orders at Fort Monroe. Two companies of the Twenty-first Indiana are well drilled at heavy artillery. The cavalry force already en route for Ship Island will be sufficient for your purposes. After full consultation with officers well acquainted with the country in which it is proposed to operate, I have arrived at the conclusion that two light batteries, fully equipped, and one without horses, will be all that are necessary. This will make your force 14,400 infantry, 275 cavalry, 580 artillery-total 15,255 men. The commanding general of the Department of Key West is authorized to loan you temporarily two regiments. Fort Pickens can probably give you another, which will bring your force to nearly 18,000.
The object of your expedition is one of vital importance-the capture of New Orleans. The route selected is up the Mississippi River, and the first obstacle to be encountered (perhaps the only one) is in the resistance offered by Forst Saint Philip and Jackson. It is expected that the Navy can reduce these works. In that case you will, after their capture, leave a sufficient garrison in them to render them perfectly