Colonel Shaffer, chief quartermaster Department of the Gulf, to send two tow-boats to Captain Porter, commanding United States mortar fleet.
All the tow-boats, with exception of steamer Fox, were at the Southwest Pass, and it was impossible to communicate with them, the Fox having no steam or coal at the time.
I reported this fact to Captain Porter, and at the same time informed him that the Empire Parish, a steamboat sailing under flag of truce and then lying at the levee, could be substituted for one of the tow-boats. He directed me to see her owners and ascertain if they would charter their boat to him.
I had an interview with her agents, and they told me they could not charter their vessel to Captain Porter.
Captain Porter then seized the Empire Parish, and requested me to procure a crew for her, which was done, and the vessel reported ready for use the same evening.
The steamer Fox was made ready the same day and orders given her to report to Captain Porter for orders.
About 3 p. m. of the next day she towed the United States steamer McClellan, then lying in the stream (in a disabled condition), to the wharf, and the captain of the Fox, instead of obeying his orders to report to Captain Porter, moved his vessel to the dock, for which he was discharged the next morning on my becoming acquainted with the fact.
Another master was placed in charge of steamer Fox, who was directed to report immediately to Captain Porter, but before he could do so Captain Morris, commanding United States steamer Pensacola, and senior naval officer in port, made a requisition in writing for the steamer Fox. He was informed she was required for the use of Captain Porter. He however insisted that she should obey his orders, and he would explain the matter with Captain Porter. She was accordingly directed to obey Captain Morris' instructions, and she was employed the greater part of the day in doing so.
The next day, July 16, 1862, she took in tow the mortar schooners Nos. 17 and 19, and proceeded up the river.
[Inclosure No. 3.]
I, Edward T. Thompson, on or about the 13th of June, 1862, took charge of the steamer Empire Parish, as captain, by order of Captain D. D. Porter, commanding mortar fleet. Proceeded first, at or about 3 o'clock p. m., to Algiers to take in coal, but finding no coal-wheelers, returned to the city at once. I reported to Captain Porter at or about 6 o'clock the same evening, who ordered me to use all dispatch, take in my coal, get the schooners of mortar fleet in tow, and proceed up the river to Vicksburg. At or about 7 o'clock on the morning of the 14th June, 1862, having coal-wheelers on board, I proceeded to Algiers, cooled the boat, and about 2 o'clock of the same day returned to the city landing and took in provisions. At or about 6 o'clock same day left the city and took in tow two schooners of the mortar fleet, and passed up the river to Nine Mile Point.
E. T. THOMPSON.
[Inclosure No. 4.]
U. S. SLOOP PENSACOLA, off New Orleans, June 14, 1862.
CAPTAIN OF THE STEAMER FOX:
SIR: I wish you to tow up as soon as possible the bark Saint Mary