ice until thoroughly overhauled and repaired. The Sumter has but four men, and the captain of her is the only officer free from sickness.
There are two rebel gunboats up the Red River which should be seen to, but with my present force it would be impracticable to attack them with success without some other light-draught gunboats. The low stage of water in the Red River would prevent the Essex going up.
The enemy are also fortifying at Ellis' Cliffs, some 20 miles below Natchez, and unless speedily seen to will eventually cause much trouble. A powerful steam-tug to tow the Essex up the Mississippi, and also to convey sufficient coal supply, I respectfully solicit may be sent me as early as practicable. In the immediate neighborhood of this city large bodies of rebel troops are concentrating, and I would respectfully suggest the immediate fortification of the place, both of the land and river side. The ram Arkansas is still above water, and could without doubt, if the Essex were absent, retake the city.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. D. PORTER,
Commanding Division of Western Flotilla below Vicksburg.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, August 3, 1862.
Flag-Officer D. G. FARRAGUT,
Comdg. Western Gulf Squadron, U. S. Sloop-of-War Hartford:
SIR: I have just been informed by a reliable person that since yesterday morning a great number of field guns have been placed between here and Baton Rouge by the rebels, the avowed object being to sink my transports in the absence of your cruisers. This information, taken in connection with dispatches received from General Williams, informing me that he expected an attack by a large force, leads me to believe that my informant is truthful. I consider it therefore my imperative duty to ask you to cause one at least of your gunboats to cruise between here and Baton Rouge at once, so that I can keep my communications open with my forces at that point at least during the time danger is anticipated.
I am, sir, very respectfully,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, No. 55.
New Orleans, August 4, 1862.
It appears that the need of relief to the destitute poor of the city requires more extended measures and greater outlay than have yet been made. It becomes a question in justice upon whom should this burden fall. Clearly upon those who have brought this great calamity upon their fellow-citizens. It should not be borne by taxation of the whole municipality, because the middling and working men have never been heard at the ballot-box unawed by threats and unmenaced by thugs and paid assassins of conspirators against peace and good order. Besides, more than the vote that was claimed for secession have taken the oath of allegiance to the United States.