nine guns mounted on a work found upon the Gentilly road will, unless it be found that they are more useful where they are (and I do not at present think they can be of any importance where they are), prove sufficient to cover these points.
A picket of two companies each is posted at Hickox and at Lakeport. These pickets also guard, by small detachments, all the bayous of any importance between Manchac Pass and Point aux Herbes.
I have ordered a battalion to take post at the crossing of Bayou Gentilly and Pontchartrain Railroad, which will have the general protection of these passes and the charge of the works on Saint John's Bayou, Pontchartrain Railroad, and the battery on the Gentilly road until removed.
The approaches into Lake Pontchartrain from Lake Borgne are protected by Forts Pike and Macomb.
Fort Pike, covering the most important passage, will, when the garrison becomes more proficient in the service of the guns and the four 42-pounders there are mounted on serviceable carriages, be all-sufficient for the protection of the passage. Fort Macomb is in good order in every respect save a little more aptitude and practice in the serving of the ordnance that is required. The ordnance here is in the finest order.
The next point of approach to the city is by Bayou Bienvenue, where 6 feet draught can be taken to within a few miles of the city. Here is a battery with platforms and pintles for thirteen guns, the guns having been removed, I think injudiciously, and taken to Fort Pike. Fort Pike should rather have been supplied with guns and carriages from elsewhere. I recommend these guns to be replaced without loss of time. The barracks, magazine, and shot-furnace require repairs, and the terre-plain of the work should be raised a little to promote convenience and health.
The next point is Bayou Dupre, which leads pretty well up toward the Mississippi; but as not over 3 feet draught can enter from the lake I do not think it advisable to place any guns in the tower there at present. This point, as well as Battery Bienvenue, is held by a small picket drawn from Fort Macomb.
The next point is Proctorville, the terminus of the Mexican Gulf Railroad. Here is an unfinished tower, calculated for eight guns; but as the landing is a miserable one at present, a steamer drawing 4 feet being unable to get within a quarter of a mile from the shore and the shore being exceedingly shallow, nothing more than a picket is required at the landing. The cover of this point is properly an earthwork, already constructed, a mile and upward from the landing and across the railroad, covering actually a narrow defile (of railroad track) through an otherwise impassable swamp. There is a battery of four guns mounted here by the Confederates.
I propose stationing a company at Proctorville, which will prevent smuggling and take charge of the battery and earthworks.
The points of this report I desire to ask the particular attention of the commanding general to are:
1st. That every point seems to be sufficiently observed except Bayou Bienvenue, which I recommend to be at once put in order, its guns supplied, and a company to be stationed there.
2nd. The earthworks behind Proctorville, those behind Lakeport and on Bayou Saint John, though not necessary to be actually occupied, to be kept in order; the battery at Proctorville to remain for the present