CAIRO, April 18, 1862.
Colonel J. C. KELTON,
I am here with whole force on our route to the Tennessee River. I have left all of our wagons, some 450, and mules, not having means for transporting them at New Madrid. Please hurry a sufficient number of boats down to New Madrid for the purpose of forwarding them to the Tennessee River, as I cannot leave the river without them, and there are also corps of the army there that need them. There are no accommodations nor surgeons at New Madrid for the establishment of hospitals. The sick, some 1,500 or 1,600, are now in farm-houses and such accommodations as could be found. There are houses and surgeons enough in Saint Louis for hospitals, and, in accordance with General Halleck's order, the sick will be sent up there. Please send down three boats for their transportation.
PITTSBURG, PA., April 19, 1862.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
My dispatch from Cincinnati of the 17th, asking authority for Mr. Butler to purchase the Monarch for $14,000 and send her to New Albany to be prepared for service, has not yet been answered. Please inform me whether the authority has been granted.
I now report that three boats at Pittsburgh and one and possibly two at Cincinnati will be ready as soon as I can man them. I respectfully request authority for the committee here to purchase 100,000 bushels of coal and the barges to carry it, so that I may take thirty days' supply with me down the Mississippi. The contract for this coal should be made forthwith; also authority to me to engage the crews and to promise them fair current Mississippi River wages in their several departments, with stipulated allowances for extraordinary dangers and enterprise. The engagement will be very short. What we do with these rams will probably be accomplished within a month after starting the first boat. Success requires that the steamers should be run below the batteries, after which they will be isolated, unable to return, and compelled to command the Mississippi or be sunk or taken. I think if I can get my boats safely below Memphis I can command the river. A month's wages is no adequate compensation for the volunteer crew. I propose therefore that, in addition to their current wages, they all be allowed an extra month's pay for every fortified rebel position they pass below; also, as you have suggested, prize-money, if they capture prizes in accordance with existing regulations; but as the arrangements of this expedition are not favorable to taking and holding prizes, but are calculated essentially to destroy the enemy's floating war property and cripple his means of transportation, that for all services of this character which may be rendered such compensation shall be allowed as in the judgment of the Secretary of War is equitable. If these suggestions are not approved, I ask to be instructed as soon as possible on these points. I propose to furnish each steamer with a military guard of 12 to 20 men, under a lieutenant, with an officer of higher grade in command of the whole, in addition to the ordinary crew of the boat, to do guard duty