river, and ten 42s will soon be up on the opposite side, giving a cross fire of twenty guns at that point. The lines extend to the swamp on each side, and have flanking arrangements for 32-pounder carronades to sweep the whole point. Their development is 8 1\2 feet, with a wide ditch, which is filled with water. On the Gentilly Ridge the same kind of work, with four guns; on the Pontchartrain Railroad five guns, the canal four guns, the Bayou Saint John four, and the Jefferson Railroad two guns-all with flanking arrangements for infantry. The guns of these small works will all be mounted within ten days.
Above the city the line extends from the swamp to the river, with flanking arrangements for artillery,a nd terminates at the river with a powerful battery of fourteen 42-pounders. At this point Major Lovell is building an obstruction under the fire of this battery, which, I think, will prevent any vessel from passing down the river. On the Algiers side the line is just behind the Batataria Canal, and runs from the river to the swamp. It is all complete except the battery on the river, where it is intended to mount ten 32-pounders. The whole should be finished and mounted in two weeks, when New Orleans will be a citadel.
The exterior line is manned by about 4,500 men, and I have about 3,500 for the interior line, besides about 6,000 well-armed volunteers in the city, who are uniformed and rifled. With 15,000 men I can defend the city against any force that can be brought, unless we are attacked on all sides at once. I have also had two sham parapets made in the city and some guns mounted, as schools of practice for the volunteers. In enumerating the troops I do not reckon two regiments (1,600 men) that I sent up to Columbus last week to General Polk's aid.
The two powder-mills are in running order, one at the barracks and one at the old Marine Hospital. Major Rains came down last week, and after a full inspection reports that they can easily turn out 2 tons of powder per day, and I am making a contract with responsible parties here for 200 tons of saltpeter. Sulphur and charcoal we have in abundance. The new marine hospital is being fitted up at a small cost, one-half for a hospital and the other for a laboratory and store-rooms for munitions of war, implements, arms, &c.
With a sufficiency of powder I should consider myself in a position to hold New Orleans for an indefinite length of time. The only point, then, for consideration would be provisions. I am endeavoring silently, through other parties, to induce holders to lay in not less than 60,000 barrels of flour, of which the city consumes about 800 per diem. This, with beef cattle from Texas and from Mississippi via Mandeville, would enable us to stand a siege of two or three months, it if should be necessary.
I have thus endeavored to give you a rough sketch of the progress that has been made in the work assigned me by the administration. There are a thousand minor matters which have taken up a great deal of time and given much trouble, but the heaviest part of the work is done. The amount of labor involved has been more than I anticipated, as matters were in a much worse condition than I could have supposed possible; but I have no hesitation in saying that I regard New Orleans at present as strong enough to withstand any attack that is likely to be made.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding Department Numbers 1.