in shipping horses, and owing to requirements for the army in Virginia, the delays in purchasing, transportation, &c., months must elapse before horses can be procured from the North.
I have visited the agricultural districts within our lines, and have taken all available horses to the number of 125. No greater number can be procured without distressing poor families. Even in many instances I gave them a mule in exchange.
I am informed that several hundred animals fit for cavalry, and which are merely used as objects of luxury and convenience, can be found in this city. Many of the owners of the same will not willingly dispose of them at any price to forward the interests of the United States Army.
Although the supply of arms and equipments is limited, a sufficient number for 1,600 men day be daily expected and can be had by further requisition in thirty days.
In interim saddles may be purchased here, confiscated shot-guns substituted for carbines, and the want of sabers met by the adoption of the lance, of which one thousand can be manufactured per week by the artisans in the quartermaster's department.
The prospects of recruiting more companies for the Louisiana Cavalry are fair.
Most respectfully, your very obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, January 5, 1863.
General N. P. BANKS,
Commanding Department of the Gulf:
GENERAL: In compliance with your request of the 14th instant, for a brief statement of the condition in which I find my department in this city, I have the honor to submit the following:
From Major Strong, whom I relieved as adjutant-general of the department, and Captain Davis, his assistant, I received all assistance and explanation that I found it necessary to ask up to the line of their departure.
The record books required by the regulations of the Adjutant-General's Department have been properly kept, with the exception of the register of letters received. I do not understand the principle on which this book has been kept. It contains entries of but a small number of letters. Hardly a paper which has been inquired for can be found on it. The files have been very imperfectly kept. There is not a trace in m office of many of the most important papers.
There are no records or papers relating to the large number of prisoners confined in the various forts, &c., except a small package, which was handed to me by General Butler himself. I am informed that many of the records and papers were kept under General Butler's personal direction and not considered as pertaining to the adjutant-general's department.
I found no account of the disposition of the troops. No return of the department had been made out since March. One for the month of September was completed after our arrival, but I could not use it for current purposes.
The subordinate commanders seem to have made returns or not at