by the new one. If you think this plan objectionable, pray point out the difficultly, as I am most anxious to effect the object, and I am sure Congress (now in session) would grant any legislation necessary for the purpose.
A law will, I doubt not, be passed in a day or two, offering a bounty for re-enlistment that will afford you great help in getting your volunteers to remain in service.
Let me congratulate you and your gallant command on the successful repulse of the recent attack. I await your official report for submission to Congress, and in hopes of hearing that their vessels were effectually crippled.
Your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN.
P. S.-I never thought of asking whether General Withers had taken any measures to defend Mobile against a coup de main via Pascagoula. A few thousand men landed there could make a rapid night march and surprise the city, if I remember the distance aright. According to my recollection it is not more than 18 or 20 miles.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT Numbers 1, C. S. A., New Orleans, La., December 5, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I avail myself of Colonel Davis' trip to Richmond to send you a map and description, which will give you some definite idea of the existing condition of affairs in this department.
Commencing at Calcasiou Bay, we have one company with two 24-pounders, which are now being put up and will prevent foraging parties from reaching the cattle-grazing prairies around the head of that lake.
At Grand Chenier there is a company of militia that I am furnishing with one 6-pounder gun. In Saint Mary's Parish there are two companies of infantry and one battery (at Franklin). I have also mustered one company of cavalry for local defense. These troops are also intended for moral effect in that densely slave-populated section.
Passing east to Atchafalaya Bay, I have placed there a regiment of 1,000 men (less two companies at Franklin), having one company each at Forts Berwick and Chene, at each of which forts are mounted one 32-pounder rifled gun and four 24-pounders. I have thus strengthened this point because the railroad which supplies us with Texas cattle water. I have also ordered the main channel of the Atchafalaya to be filled by sinking live-oak trees, leaving open an intricate channel 80 feet wide for the entrance of vessels running the blockade. Flats loaded with live-oak will be kept in readiness to sink in this channel at a moment's live-oak will be kept in readiness to sink in this channel at a moment's warning. Rafts are also being prepared to obstruct the bayou under the guns of Forts Berwick and Chene. We can support this point in four hours, by the Opelousas road, by troops from the city.
There is no navigable bayou until we reach Grand Caillou, on which I have a work with two 32-pounders and two full companies. The other bayous are unnavigable except La Fourche, on which I have also located