CHAP. XLIII.-AN ACT supplementary to an act entitled "An act to authorize the appointment of additional officers of the Navy," approved December twenty-fourth, eighteen hundred and sixty-one.
The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the President is authorized to appoint officers of the Regular Navy to any higher grade under the act above mentioned, without prejudice to their position under their original appointment.
Approved January 16, 1862.
NEW ORLEANS, LA., January 20, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your "unofficial" of the 12th instant, and this evening by Captain Montgomery, your note of the 13th. I fear I have gone almost too far with the Tennessee matter to withdraw.
On December 17 Major Rains wrote me that the plan proposed was acceptable to the President and yourself, and I authorized the parties to go to work at once, notifying you by telegraph and also by letter. The Tennessee was bought for $100,000, of which we are to guarantee one-half in case of capture. Saltpeter in Europe is 10 cents per pound, here 40 cents, and in case she brought us only 100 tons, we should save not less than $60,000; but by the terms of the proposed agreement we are to have half of her storage on the return voyage, which, in case of success, will net us a large amount. If it is impossible to obtain the necessary credit abroad, I may be able to make arrangements with parties here to make the purchases, we to pay them at such rate, as in case of success, to reimburse the $50,000 which we risk by way of guarantee. I inclose you a copy of a letter received from Major Rains to-night, which confirms me in my favorable view of the proposed plan. Please telegraph me on receipt of this, and say whether I shall make the best terms I can, taking it for granted that it will be impossible to obtain the necessary credits abroad. The party who offered to bring in 75 tons of powder, if we advance the money, under bonds, offers E. Gautherin & Co., of New Orleans, as bondsmen. I objected to the security, but he says their status is well known to you and to the President, and wished me to advise with you.
Mr. Lee, whom I sent to Texas for the Vanderbilt powder, reports that General Hebert had taken half if it without examination. Acting under orders from me, he examined 135 boxes of the remainder, rejecting 30 boxes as being some wet, some damp, and others lumpy. When he gets through with half, he will go to General Hebert to carry out your instructions with reference to the balance of the cargo. The part that passed inspection was shipped to me on the 13th instant from Beaumont, Tex., via New Iberia.
I was in Mississippi Sound yesterday; made a close reconnaissance of the enemy's fleet, and found twenty-four vessels at the island. Two of their steamers got under way and drove us back to Pass Christian. Biloxi is not and never has been occupied by the enemy. They came ashore with 60 men, staid for a few hours, and left. The reports about outrages and communications with the enemy are grossly exaggerated. With the Third Mississippi Regiment and a few launches I can do all that we propose; i.e.., prevent marauding parties from landing, negroes from escaping, or any communication with the enemy.