your success in this regard, as it is an important part of a difficult problem.
The voucher brought by the bearer of this would have been paid promptly if the person who sold the property had signed the paper. As he has had the trip for nothing, it would be well if you could pay him on his presentation of the proper receipt.
The weather continues very bad. I have ordered to be ready to-morrow my whole force at a moment's warning. Hope I may soon receive a positive order to this effect.
SAML. R. CURTIS,
CAIRO, January 4, 1862.
Quartermaster-General M. C. MEIGS:
GENERAL: The mortar and tug boats have all arrived from Saint Louis and been assigned to me by Quartermaster Allen. The tug-boats are officered and manned, but in some instances not properly officered. If it is understood that I am to have charge of these boats, the question of pay and rations requires to be settled. Will you therefore please inform me if I am to pay them? If so, it seems that the better course will be for the acting paymaster of my own vessel, the Benton, to enter them upon the books of that gunboat, and we pay and ration them as we do the crew of the Benton.
As the mortar boats (thirty-eight in number) have also arrived, it is necessary that a master superintendent should have charge of them. Under my directions I have appointed Captain Constable for this purpose, a gentlemen who held a commission as major in the British East India Company service, and is familiar with the use of mortars, and comes to us highly valuable if the mortar boats are fitted out, at the rate of $2,000 per annum.
I respectfully request instructions in relation to these tugs and mortar boats, especially the former, as the officers and men are almost clamorous for their pay and subsistence.
I find a great pressure bearing upon me for exorbitant prices for freight and for steamer. I have in one instance in freight cut a bill down $2,000, and another bill of $300 I paid but $100, and in both cases informed the parties that I should send the bills to the Court of Claims at Saint Louis unless the deductions were made, which were done, the parties regarding that court something like the court of chancery. I believe that in all cases the flotilla in finance has been comparatively well managed.
A careful person should have charge of the mortar boats in this river during the winter season, and I have therefore appointed Captain Constable for this purpose, also with the view of securing his valuable services in case the mortar boats are to be equipped.
The tug-boats were not in good condition when they were delivered in Saint Louis, and, as you will see in the report of the board of officers, the mortar boats are far from being in good condition, as their magazines many of them, leak badly and are otherwise defective. Still they may be done made to answer the object of their construction.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
A. H. FOOTE,