I wrote him at once that there could be no danger for his command, as from my information the numerical strength of the enemy must be insignificant; that I deemed it of great importance that he should retreat or fall back no farther, but, on the contrary, maintain his position, and that, if practicable, without too great a risk of life or public property, he should endeavor to tease the enemy, so as to draw his fire and ascertain range and caliber of guns of the armed schooner.
I inclose subsequent communications from Captain Neal, marked Nos. 2 and 3, which will throw further light on proceedings up to this date.
The rapid movements of the enemy, the numerous exaggerated reports, and the absence of the commanding officer, together with want of experience in the officers present and unwillingness to assume responsibility for fear of consequences, all tended to create a perfect panic at the very beginning; and to put this down and take all necessary steps for the proper defense of the town and the protection or rescuing of a large amount of cotton and tobacco, with the cargo just landed from the schooner Penelope, it became necessary that some one should command and take the lead. As the officers all seemed to look to me for guidance, advice, and orders, and showed themselves willing and anxious, with their men, to obey me, under the circumstances, I did not shrink from the great responsibility, and at once made all necessary suggestions.
All the necessary ammunition was at once prepared, and finding the troops without caps for their arms, almost barefoot, very small quantity of serviceable powder on hand, and in want of clothing, I took from the cargo of the schooner 20,000 percussion caps, 400 pounds of fine powder, the necessary shoes, 1 1/2 dozen flannel overshirts, and 2 pieces ditto; also-as the company of Captain Ware needed them-I took for them 15 double-barrel shot-guns and 3 five-shooters. Thereupon I obtained the requisite transportation, and forwarded the remainder of said cargo to Victoria, and sent all the cotton and tobacco on hand to its places of destination. There have been sent off from the 7th until date 421 bales of cotton, 500 bales of tobacco, also about 7,600 pounds of powder. If the enemy should be able to pay us a visit here he will not find anything worth plundering or carrying away. The records of the county and district clerk I have caused to be made ready for packing in chests made for the purpose, ready to be moved at a moment's warning.
From the passengers referred to by Captain Neal as sent from on board the enemy's bark, and whom I critically examined, assisted by Captain Ware, Lieutenant-Commanding George, and Mr. Robert Mott, late of New Orleans, and known as an able lawyer, we learned that the enemy's forces did not number 125 men, all told, and that the men on the gunboat, cutter, and launches were supplied from the bark, leaving this latter with only about 20 men or less. Captain Kittredge is in command inside on board gunboat, which carries two 32-pounder Dahlgrens and one large caliber gun amidships. She was a pleasure yacht in New Orleans, built by Robinson, owned by Story, and lastly taken and fitted up by and for General Lovell, and brought out as one of the enemy's trophies of war, about 125 tons burden, and about 6 feet draught of water. The cutter carries 30 oars, one 24-pounder howitzer, and is manned from the schooner. the greatest number of men ever seen on these vessels, including the prizes, does not exceed 87. The cotton taken by the enemy is piled, as before stated, on Saint Joseph's Island, opposite Captain Johnson's house. The conclusion as to the