War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0864 OPERATIONS IN W.FLA., S.ALA., S.MISS., AND LA. Chapter XV.

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thousand tons of saltpeter, and ought now very soon to receive one or two cargoes. This would put us on our legs completely. There is saltpeter in Mexico, and Mr. Oliver came here to make contracts with me, but I could do nothing with him. He wanted large advances and to bind himself to nothing. He was so fearful of responsibilities, that it was impossible to agree on anything. See his agents, Messrs. Avendain Brothers, in New Orleans. They may, perhaps, procure you promptly a saltpeter supply.

6th. I ought to have mentioned, in regard to powder by the Florida, that the parties telegraphed that they required for it $2 a pound, cash, delivered in Marianna, Fla., the Department to take the risk and expense of getting it to Columbus. I consider this extortionate, in view of the fact that they had calved on the Government for help to save it and get it to Columbus. I ordered General Pemberton to impress it at that rate. I advise you of these for information. The parties complain that they have only received $120,000 on account of the powder per Vanderbilt. Pray settle up with them for that cargo.

7th. Your call on Governor Moore for troops to replace those sent to Tennessee is approved.

8th. In view of the great extent to which you have been weakened by sending aid up the river you are right in retaining some of the steam-boat fleet below. I hope, however, that the iron-clad boats will soon be under way and relieve you from all fear of a river attack.

Your obedient servant,

J. P. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War.

NEW ORLEANS, LA., March 22, 1862.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN:

Please order General Jones, at Mobile, to send me some 10-inch columbiads and sea-coast mortars promptly.

M. LOVELL.

NEW ORLEANS, LA., March 22, 1862.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War:

Seven vessels of the enemy inside of the mouth of the river. All naval ships at Memphis. I will have to retain six of Montgomery's fleet for service below.

M. LOVELL.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT NO.1, New Orleans, La., March 22, 1862.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th relative to Montgomery's expedition. The evacuation of Columbus overturns his original intentions of destroying the enemy's fleet at Cairo, and in my judgment they can now be used only as assistants to the land and naval forces in defending our own positions. The people of New Orleans thought it strange that all the vessels of the Navy should be sent up the river, and were disposed to find fault with sending in addition fourteen steamers, leaving this city without a single