Rear-Admiral Farragut is very desirous that we should make a demonstration on Mobile, or at least Fort Morgan, to save the necessity of the large blockading force off that fort. I think 3,000 men would do it successfully; but again I have not the men to spare and to do those things which I think of more immediate necessity.
I have as yet received, with the expedition of 60 men, no recruits from the North for any of my old regiments, some of which have been eighteen months in service, so that my regiments appear much larger in numbers than they are in effective strength.
I am sorry to report the very sudden and serious illness of Brigadier-General Arnold, who was stricken with paralysis while attending a review on Saturday, from which I think he will not recover sufficiently to resume his duties for some months.
I was happy to receive the commendation of the general commanding in chief of the action of Major Strong at Ponchatoula.
The illness of General Arnold and the wide-spread districts over which my troops are disposed make it necessary that I should have another brigadier-general. Allow me to recommend for promotion Major Strong, my assistant adjutant-general, lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps, who graduated the second in his class at West Point in 1857, and also has been in the service ever since. I know no one more competent, and certainly he has shown both conduct and gallantry. I have been obliged to lose his services a part of the summer through his ill-health, brought on by overexertion in preparing the expedition to New Orleans; but I think that he has now fully recovered and re-established his health. May I ask your kind offices to recommend to the President this appointment as one eminently fit to be made?
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, La., October 27, 1862.
GENERAL: In my dispatch of the [24th] instant I had the honor to report to the commanding general the departure of an expedition, under Brigadier-General Weitzel, into that part of Louisiana which lies west of the Mississippi River. I inclose General Weitzel's dispatch, showing his operations so far.*
This is sent by hand of Captain [A. F.] Puffer, of my staff, by whom I also forward a map of that part of Louisiana which, though not strictly accurate, will give you a very good idea of the country through which operations are being made. I have explained to him verbally the proposed action of the expedition, and, if you desire, by the aid of the map he may make it clearer than I can by writing. I trust you will find him a gentleman of such intelligence as to make clear the difficulties we encounter and the necessity of the expenditure which I have made for light-draught steamers for the numerous bayous.
I hope that on Tuesday morning, the 28th instant, four of these steamers, two of them iron-clad as far as the boilers are concerned, will
*That of October 25. See Report No. 2.