day received from the Secretary of Statea communication, dated on the current instant (of which a copy is herewith inclosed*), signifying the desire of the President that for the reasons therein set forth-
The commander of the United States forces at New Orleans be instructed to issue and publish, an order that hereafter no person not in the civil, military, or naval service of a foreign government shall, without the written leave of the commander of the military forces at New Orleans depart from that city on board of any foreign ship of war, and that no foreign vessel of war shall receive on board and carry from such city any such persons, who shall not have written leave to depart, on board of such vessel.
Under the like direction of the Secretary of War you are now hereby instructed to issue and publish an order which shall give effect to the desire of the President as the same is expressed in the letter of the Secretary of State.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. P. WOLCOTT,
Assistant Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, December 18, 1862
Major-General HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
GENERAL: Sailing from New York Thursday, the 4th of December, I reached this port on Sunday evening, the 14th December, after a passage of ten days.
The weather was delightful, every day and night alike beautiful. Not a soul here anticipated our arrival, and scarcely a man on board ship suspected our destination until we were steaming up the Mississippi.
+ thousand troops have arrived here, and I find at this point about 10,000 men, with eight batteries of artillery, making an effective total of
+ thousand men.
With exception of General Emory's command, the health and spirits of my own troops are excellent. Some cases of small-pox and measles appeared among the troops from Fortress Monroe. But few deaths have occurred and no serious inconvenience has arisen, except so far as it reduces the effective force of that command. They brought these diseases with them to Fortress Monroe from Newport News.
All of the transports were able to sail directly, except the Baltic, the Atlantic and the Ericsson, of General Emory's fleet. Troops and stores of these vessels will be transshipped at Ship Island for this port.
The first rebel position on the Lower Mississippi is Baton Rouge, where there are reported to be from 500 to 1,000 troops. Eighteen miles above Baton Rouge, at Port Hudson, is the second position, strongly fortified, and held by a force of 10,000 or 15,000.
Arriving at New Orleans on Sunday evening, I delivered to General Butler, on the same evening, your orders relieving him from the command of this department. He received it courteously, and has given me all the assistance I could wish in entering upon my duties. Without transshipping troops or stores, 10,000 men, with a battery of artillery, sailed on Tuesday morning for Baton Rouge, under command of General Grover. I expect to learn to-morrow that we are in possession of
*See p. 612.
+Blank in the original.