regiment at Ponchatoula, and one other company, he does not know what to call them. Says Colonel Miller is in command of the post; he says there are about 350 men in all the place.
Lieutenant Worster, after learning all he could from the prisoner, started for home, arrived near our pickets about midnight, made land, and waited for daylight it being very dark and foggy.
Shortly after he had landed a boat with two men in it approached the shore. The lieutenant halted them, but they fled. He fired upon them but they were soon out of sight in the fog, but only to be taken by our other boat that was fetching up the rear. One of these men proved to be a planter by the name of C. Read. He lives about 18 miles below New Orleans. He had about $18,000 current paper money about him and $2,000 Confederate money. He said he was going to Canton, Miss., where his wife resides. He has taken the oath of allegiance. He said he had applied for a pass and was refused and thought he would go without one. The other man is wood-chopper, who lives near New Orleans. He was hired by Read to set him on shore near Pass Manchac. He has taken the oath. His name is Edward Kelly. The thought has occurred to me that the money found with Read is for the payment of rebel soldiers.
While this work was going on I had sent Second Lieutenant McCulloch, of Company H, One hundred and seventy-seventh New York Regiment, with 15 men, by way of railroad to Pass Manchac, to see if the South Pass had been frequented by the rebel pickets, and gave him orders to cross the Pass and connect with Lieutenant Worster if he found no signs of the enemy nearer. He started on the morning of the 10th; arrived at the Pass about noon; saw no signs of the enemy; succeeded in making a raft that would hold two men, and crossed the Pass with one of his men. The ground showed the appearance of being frequented, and they soon saw two armed men with bayonets fixed. He recrossed the Pass, and as there were no facilities for crossing with him men he came home. It appears from all the information that I have gained that this force at Ponchatoula comes down to the South Pass and all about the country.
My scouting parties could not have succeeded better than they have under the most favorable circumstances, and it must be remembered that we labored under the most unfavorable circumstances, having only one boat that was sea-worthy and that only capable of carrying six men, and having to go up a narrow pass a distance of 9 miles inside the enemy's picket.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
O. W. TRASK,
Captain, Company E, Fourteenth Maine Regiment,
Commanding Picket Station at Frenier, La.
DEFENSES, New Orleans, February 17, 1863.
These reports are quite satisfactory. They, however, show that intercourse still continues across the Pass (Manchac), and I am apprehensive it will continue until we can scout the northwest shore of the lake with boats. I recommend a good light-draught sloop or schooner be furnished by the quartermaster's department for this service. A couple of small boats besides are necessary there.
Respectfully forwarded to Headquarters Department of the Gulf.
T. W. SHERMAN,