aid of the gunboats from Cairo. The enemy, finding he could make no impression on the force at Point Pleasant, has withdrawn his batteries from the opposite shore and ceased to pass up and down the river.
Transports are only able to pass when masked closely by at least two gunboats for each steamer, and then only by passing close to the opposite shore. He is landing troops 4 miles below Point Pleasant, on the opposite shore, and marching them across the neck of land and then recrossing to Island Numbers 10. In this way considerable re-enforcements have been thrown on the island within a day or two. From the island this place has also been considerably re-enforced, until the enemy's force here cannot be much short of 11,000 men. As soon as I can drive off he gunboats all the forces there will be taken.
I am very anxious (for service on the river) to have larger field guns. The 20-pounder Parrots are exactly the gun we want, and by having several batteries of them our efficiency would be a thousand times increased. Our smaller guns have not range enough to cover the whole breadth of the river with certainty. With enough of the 20-pounder Parrotts we can pass below and mask every work the enemy can erect or has erected on the river. I am sure you will aid me in the matter. I send an open order for the disposition of troops within this district. General Paine, for some singular reason, has sent fragments of regiments here, detailing two companies from one, four from another, &c., where one single regiment taken together would have been sufficient, and have given us full regiments here. I have endeavored, in the order inclosed, to correct this, but before having it executed submit it to you, that I may not interfere with arrangements of yours. I wish the whole affair at Commerce broken up. The sick ought to be sent somewhere to be taken care of. I need staff officers, especially medical officers, more than I can tell.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Telegraph the following order to Major-General Halleck, at Saint Louis, Mo.:
PRESIDENT'S WAR ORDERS, EXECUTIVE MANSION, Numbers 3.
Washington, March 11, 1862.
Major-General McClellan having personally taken the field at the head of the Army of the Potomac, until otherwise ordered he is relieved from the command of the other military departments, he retaining command of the Department of the Potomac.
Ordered further, That the two departments now under the respective commands of Generals Halleck and Hunter, together with so much of that under General Buell as lies west of a north and south line indefinitely drawn through Knoxville, Tenn., be consolidated and designated the Department of the Mississippi, and that until otherwise ordered Major-General Halleck have command of said department.
Ordered also, That the country west of the Department of the Potomac and east of the Department of the Mississippi be a military department, to be called the Mountain Department, and that the same be commanded by Major-General Fremont. That all the commanders of departments, after the receipt of this order by them respectively, report severally and directly to the Secretary of War, and that prompt, full, and frequent reports will be expected of all and each of them.
By order of the Secretary of War: