I think I could hold the place now against a very large force, but would like a few guns to mount on the fortifications.
A man who came in from Ponchatoula yesterday says that he read in the Memphis Appeal (January 15), now published at Jackson, that the United States forces were in possession of Vicksburg on the 11th instant. He reports that the enemy have left Ponchatoula and that there is but a small force at Camp Moore.
Should the enemy attempt to come down the river from Plaquemine, if General Grover had transportation to cross the river he could get in behind them and they would be betwixt two fires.
R. E. HOLCOMB,
As soon as I hear of any movement of the enemy I will report by telegraph. I have charged the officer in command of Perkins' cavalry, near Plaquemine, to be vigilant and on the lookout and report any movement immediately.
UNITED STATES STEAM-SLOOP BROOKLYN,
Off Galveston, January 20, 1863.
Whereas a proclamation, dated Galveston, Tex., January 4, 1863, and signed by J. Bankhead Magruder, major-general commanding, declares the said port of Galveston to be open for trade with all friendly nations, and invites their merchants to resume their usual commercial intercourse with the said port of Galveston; therefore the undersigned hereby warns all concerned that the port of Galveston and also Sabine Pass, as well as the whole coast of Texas, are under an actual blockade by a sufficient force of United States vessels; and any merchant vessel appearing off the aforesaid ports or attempting to pass out from the said ports under any pretext whatever will be captured, notwithstanding the aforesaid proclamation, and sent into an open port of the United States for adjudication.
H. H. BELL,
Comm., Comd. U. S. Forces off Galveston and Coast of Texas.
New Orleans, January 21, 1863.
LieutenantCol. RICHARD B. IRWIN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Gulf:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication inclosing a document from Brigadier-General Weitzel in relation to the gunboats in Berwick Bay.
In reply I have to say that it is the first I knew of the gigantic operations in that quarter, or I certainly would not have taken the Estrella from there to place in Lake Pontchartrain. In my last conversation with the commanding general he certainly expressed no such views to me, but appeared glad that I had ordered the Estrella around to the lake until I could get others of more suitable force for flanking the position at New Orleans.
Before ordering the Estrella around I wrote to the commanding officer