vessel for protection against the enemy, who was collecting heavy fleets near the mouth of the river. Within the past few days they have had thirteen ships near the mouth, and have succeeded in towing inside several large steamers, which in my opinion only await the arrival of the mortar fleet to attempt to come up the river to New Orleans and operate as a diversion for the column descending from Cairo. Under these circumstances I shall retain here six of Montgomery's ships to assist in repelling any attack upon the forts below.
At my request Governor Moore is also fitting up with bulkheads of cotton two vessels, which will give us eight here. This will be of material service and will quiet the people, who think that they have been too much neglected. In guns of large caliber we are greatly deficient, as I have mentioned before. It was to be hoped that in the evacuation of Pensacola some 10-inch columbiads would be sent here, but I have only succeeded in getting one, and that by sending a persevering officer after it.
I inclose you two orders on the subject of martial law.* Affairs here have reached a crisis (which Mr. Yancey will explain to the President), and it became necessary for some one to seize the helm with a strong hand, or we should have trouble, perhaps bloodshed, between men who were all friendly to the cause. A city composed of such heterogeneous elements as this, with an excitable population, who are easily led into excesses, is difficult to govern, as there are so many interests to consult, each jealous of the other. This rendered the appointment of provost-marshals a matter of great difficulty, more especially as I knew that there were large and influential associations in existence whose leaders were desirous to take control. The universal approval of my appointments throughout the city and the satisfaction and quiet so apparent to all lead me to infer that the difficulty has been entirely solved, and everything seems to have settled back into its proper channel. We shall encourage our friends, root out our enemies, guard the public interests, and keep the speculators well in hand. No movement has been made since martial law was proclaimed that has not been received with approval by the people at large. I feel sure that the administration and our cause have been saved from a terrible embarrassment here in New Orleans.
We are called upon here from all quarters to furnish everything-powder, food, equipments, and ordnance stores of all kinds-and it is utterly impossible to make any estimate which will suit the requirements of the bureaus. We must have money here in large quantities, for we know not what urgent requisition may come upon us by telegraph at a moment's notice. Bragg telegraphed to-day for 500,000 pounds of hard bread, yet the estimate of my commissary, approved by me, has been returned from Richmond for details of what we would require. Such red tape will kill us. We had to borrow money to keep troops from suffering. This point being recognized as a great source of supply, I hope you will see the importance of placing large amounts of money here for all the bureaus-commissary, ordnance, quartermaster, and medical purveyors. It is utterly impossible to foresee what we will require. Money will have to be borrowed to keep out troops in Tennessee from wanting bread. This certainly could not have been foreseen by the assistant commissary of this department.
I thank you very warmly for the confidence expressed in the last paragraph of your letter, and trust that nothing will occur to abate it. My position here is one of labor and difficulty, without much chance for
Nos. 10 and 11, March 15 and 18, pp.857,860.
55 R R-VOL VI