I have for these reasons reduced officers and soldiers in this city to the accommodations provided by the Army Regulations. All property in the hands of commissions or committees or officers belonging to the United States has been turned over to the quartermaster's department. The immense charities established here upon the bounty of the Government are being reduced to the lowest possible amount. Trade has been cut off altogether beyond the lines and will be so far as allowed, general, and not given to particular individuals. To allay the fears of many classes of people I published the President's proclamation upon the subject of emancipation, accompanied by such explanations, and orders as appeared to be necessary. I have protected the people as far as possible from the plunder of their property for the benefit of private individuals and have sought to reconcile them to the Government so far as I could, without relaxing in the slightest degree the rule of the Government in those matters necessary to the maintenance of its legitimate authority. Necessarily I have encountered much opposition from those interested in a different policy but the general result has been entirely satisfactory. The new year opened without any public disturbance and the planters and negroes are as little distressed as at any time since our occupation of the city. The representatives of foreign governments appear to be satisfied. Admiral Reynaud, commanding the French fleet in the Southern waters, who told me he came here apprehensive of trouble and to protect his people, departed before New Year's Day with an expression of his entire satisfaction with the condition of affairs here. The people seem to be well-disposed and were it not for the temporary encouragement which recent successes have given the rebellion the community would be less hostile than those of Maryland and Virginia. I do not observe here any permanent and irreconcilable elements of hostility to the Government.
In military matters my experience is less satisfactory. The condition of the troops that I find here shows that as much, or more, attention has been given to civil than to military affairs. This has been in the case of General Butler as in my own, to which I have referred, a matter of necessity. The complication of civil administration weakens the force and power of the military department of the Government as a matter of course.
The troops that accompany my expedition are not in condition for immediate service. They are all new troops, most of them never having handled a musket until their arrival here. The artillery is light, not adapted to such service as is necessary to a successful assault upon the fortifications of the enemy on the river. With 30,000 troops in the department I have only four or five very weak companies of cavalry. It is impossible to obtain timely information of the movements of the enemy under such circumstances and their superiority in this arm of the service gives them great advantage and greatly depresses officers and men of my command. Every possible effort is making to remedy these defects in the military organization.
A battery of 20-pounder Parrott guns is organizing. I have sent to Pensacola for heavy Parrott guns that can be spared from that post, and I hope soon to have them ready for service. There has been ample material for equipping cavalry in this department, but the horses all seem to have been appropriated to private uses or sent out of the country. I am endeavoring to extemporize a small cavalry force by finding horses wherever I can and detailing men from the infantry service for that duty, and I hope my efforts may be successful. The enemy's works at Port Hudson have been in progress many months and