men; and though I have succeeded to some extent in making soldiers here of raw levies of volunteers, and at the same time retaining their good will and confidence, I distrust my ability to accomplish the same in the new field offered me.
Without a base of operations, in a country poorly supplied at best, and now exhausted by being overrun by both armies in mid-winter, with an unclad,d badly-fed, and badly-supplied mass of men, without instruction, arms, equipments, or officers, it is certainly a most unpromising field for operations. But should the President decide on it, after knowing the state of affairs here, I will bend all my energies and faculties to the task, and offer myself (as a sacrifice, if necessary) to the great cause in which we are engaged.
I shall need and must receive from the Department great assistance in the way of staff and general officers. Upon them depends, as much as upon the commander, the success of all his efforts. Many of the volunteers here are now so well instructed that this may be granted without materially weakening this department.
Could you possibly send 3,000 stand of arms here? I should desire to take from this army Chalmer's Ninth Mississippi, Adams' Louisiana Regulars, and Jackson's Fifth Georgia Regiments. These would give me a nucleus upon which to form, would set a example of discipline, and would give me the support of excellent officers, who know and trust me, and in whom I place unlimited confidence. I should desire brigadier-General Gladden to command them; Colonel Chalmers might be made a brigadier, to remain here in place of Gladden, and Lieutenant-Colonel Autrey would make an excellent colonel for his regiment, now nearly reorganized for the war. Jackson I should desire to see advanced to the command of a brigade.
Major Slaughter, my acting inspector-general, is on a short official visit to Richmond. He possesses my entire confidence in every respect, and may be fully and freely consulted by the Department, as he knows my views in regard to matters here, and is fully posted as I am.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT Numbers 1, New Orleans, La., January 7, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: After reading the letter of Mr. McRae, relative to the use of launches on the coast of Mississippi Sound, I suggested to Commodore Hollins to make some arrangements with that purpose in view. Nothing has been done, nor is it likely that anything will be done, by the Navy Department there unless under orders from Richmond. You will recollect our conversation the evening before I left Richmond, in which you took a different view from myself. I felt satisfied that if the protection of the navigable streams running up into the country was removed from my control it would in all probability not be properly arranged in connection with the land defenses, while the general commanding the department would be considered by the people at large as responsible for inroads into the territory of his command. This is just what has happened.
I should have had light-draught armed vessels or launches at numer-