half a mile of range of the nearest point of the camp at Fort Holt, and returned as soon as their fire was replied to. Our gunboats followed them 7 or 8 miles, but could not get near enough to engage them.
I would respectfully submit it to the general commanding the department whether the hospital facilities at this place and at Mount City should not be increased in advance of the demand for more room. The hospitals are sufficiently commodious for all that are sick at present, and have a very suitable supply, with everything required, except, perhaps, blankets. By adding bedsteads and bedding, accommodations can be provided for about 350 more.
I have received invoice and bill of landing of 4,000 stand of French muskets, with accouterments complete, from the East. These, with 4,000 stand of improved arms, which I understand are to be sent for General McClernand's brigade, will supply the command, or nearly so.
There is much difficulty experienced here finding storage for or commissary supplies. I caused to be rented some months ago a very large and conveniently-arranged wharf-boat for this purpose. It will store conveniently for issue 2,500,000 of rations, with office room and apartments overhead sufficient for the assistant commissary of subsistence and has assistants. This boat could be moved down the river at any time, if required. When the gunboat began to receive their supplies, Commodore Foote made application for this storage room, and obtained an order for it. At that time I looked upon it as necessary for their use. Now, however, they have a large receiving steamer, which in my judgment will accommodate all their stores, an be quite if not more convenient than the wharf-boat. For this reason, and the fact that a large amount of provisions are now on the way or soon will be I would recommend that the order transferring this boat be rescinded.
Otherwise a large portion of the stores to arrive will have to be stored on the landing without shelter. If Commodore Foote was here in person I think he would not object to making the arrangement asked without the issuing of an order.
U. S. GRANT,
HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,
Paducah, Ky., December 1, 1861.
To the ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL,
Headquarters Department of the Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo.:
SIR: The letter of the major-general commanding the department, dated on the 26th ultimo, in reference to the defense of the line of the Ohio between the months of the Wabash and Tennessee from Hardee's rebel forces attempting to cross into Illinois, &c., was duly received. I concur entirely with the general that the cavalry force he speaks of operations on the north bank of the Ohio, with an occasional visit of a gunboat, be sufficient.
Our main reliance against the enemy's attempt by gunboats by way of the Tennessee and Cumberland must be by the flotilla, though at present that term is rather a misnomer, since it consists of but the gunboat Conestoga. The two floating batteries (two coal-barges joined), one of which is in position, can scarcely be regarded as part of the flotilla. They were intended to sweep both shores and guard the bridge, but only as against field guns. Alone, they could be run down or destroyed by an enemy's gunboat, properly constructed and armed, easily, through as an auxiliary to gunboats they may be good service. The