WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, Va., December 18, 1861.
Major General MANSFIELD LOVELL,
Commanding Department, &c., New Orleans, La.:
SIR: In compliance with a request addressed to this Department by the Honorable Secretary of the Navy, you are instructed to do all in your power, consistent with the exigencies of the military service in your department, towards supplying Flag Officer Hollins, C. S. Navy, with cannon powder, upon his requisition therefor.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT Numbers 1, New Orleans, La., December 19, 1861.
DEAR SIR: I return Colonel Fontaine's letter. I do not disapprove of fortifying Vicksburg. I said in my previous letter we had no officer of Engineers and no guns to spare, and I thought it too late to commence a self-protecting work. If they wish to build it, however, let them do so, although I must adhere to my previous opinion, that it is better to concentrate the forts and obstructions at the points where the batteries already exist. If this cannot be done, I would grant permission to go to work on the Louisiana side, but I can give them no competent officer, no guns, and no powder.
Yours, very truly,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Ordnance Office, Jackson, Miss., December 18, 1861.
His Excellency THOMAS O. MOORE,
Governor of Louisiana:
DEAR SIR: I hope you will pardon me for again calling your attention to the subject of the defense of New Orleans. I have entire confidence in your wisdom and patriotism and the ability of the officers to whom you have instructed the safety of our great metropolis; but persons at a distance from an object can see its position, with all its bearings, more distinctly than those who are in close contact with it. The plans of the enemy are now clearly developed. They intend to attempt the descent of the Mississippi without attacking Columbus or Fulton at all. Their object will be to reach Memphis and nashville by movements up the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers and from Bowling Green, so as to compel General Polk to fall back upon Memphis and General Johnston upon Nashville. I believe they will be whipped if they attempt it, but they may not, and we should not let our hopes lull us into supeneness and a neglect of our security. As soon as their army moves upon Bowling Green and their flotilla commences the ascent of Lake Pontchartrain and attempt the capture of Manchac and the occupancy of all the positions on Lake Maurepoas and above your city accessible to a land force put ashore from their transports. Unless every pass is fortified on both sides and obstructed the attempt of may success, for