engaged in the active commerce of the country. In addition to the question of finance presented by such seizure is the still more important fact that publication of any military enterprise is made at the outset of any military movement by the seizure itself.
I appreciate the difficulty that attends the transport of light-draught vessels here, but I believe that some method of relief can be devised, both in regard to transports and gunboats of light draught, which are so entirely indispensable in this department.
Land transportation, which has been entirely created since we entered the department, is now in a fair way of being made equal to our wants. The necessities of both the Army and Navy in regard to water communications and defenses are imperative, and cannot in the present critical condition of affairs be too strongly presented by you. The fleet of Admiral Porter, both of transports and war vessels, makes us weep.
2nd. Cavalry. The second deficiency in our army organization is in the cavalry. This arm of the service can be used to great advantage everywhere. There are plenty of recruits to be had from the citizens or from the nine-months' regiments. We want equipments and horses. There are about 700 equipments in sets, but no horses. The statement made by Colonel Shaffer, late quartermaster, that horses were to be found within the lines of the department, is utterly without foundation. The country has been stripped by somebody before our arrival, and not enough are left for the support of life among the planters and people. If it be possible to send here a regiment of cavalry I hope it will be done. It is indispensable to the public service. The Wisconsin regiment would be glad to come. The Massachusetts regiment was raised especially for this service upon my own representations to the city government of Boston and the people of the State, and ought not to be diverted from its original destination. We shall in our approaching movements, however, leave nothing undone to extend our lines and increase our supply of horses.
I hope it will be in your power to procure, by purchase if necessary, the additional water transportation which is so much needed. The loss of the gunboat Diana, news of which comes to us this morning, and the possible loss of the Calhoun, which is aground in Grand Lake, creates a most pressing urgency for increased power.
Very truly, yours,
N. P. BANKS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, March 27, 1863.
Col. S. B. HOLABIRD,
Assistant Quartermaster, &c.:
DEAR SIR: In addition to the suggestions presented to you in regard to the deficiencies of the army organization in this department I desire you to call the attention of the Government to some affairs of an administrative character.
There are in fact three of four governments here which claim to have distinct and original duties and powers: 1st, the military government; 2nd, the State government; 3rd, the judicial establishment, and, 4th, the revenue or custom-house department.
I have had and intend to have no collision with the officers of any of these departments, but the time is rapidly approaching when it will be