of New Orleans papers stating that General Banks with his staff has arrived and mentioning other officers, from which I am satisfied that a force of at least 20,000 strong is at hand for the invasion of this State. In view of the diminution of our forces by the removal of the above-mentioned forces from this State and of the arrival of these Federal forces momentarily expected, I have to request that you will call out at once all the militia which the State can possibly arm and cause them to rendezvous at Harrisburg. I have also to request that you will send arms and a full supply of ammunition for these troops, in order that they may be armed and equipped as soon as possible. While I have facilitated the movement of these troops (Sibley's brigade and Stone's and Gurley's regiments) in every possible manner, I have sent a letter to General Holmes by courier requesting that the order for the movement be countermanded. I doubt, however, if it will be done.
I am, sir, very respectfully,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
HAVANA, December 22, 1862.
MY DEAR ----:
I presume you are ere this posted as to Banks' expedition, as I see that many are leaving the city of New Orleans for Dixie. He has 25,000 men, besides Butler's army. His landing at New Orleans closes the business so far as Mobile is concerned. One battalion is sufficient for Mobile, just to keep order and say that there is troops there.
The West is clamorous for the opening of the Mississippi River, as the low prices of grain in New York is killing them. The Government of Lincoln must open the river, or sooner or later they will have trouble with the West, and every nerve will be extended for that end in the West.
No iron-clads in the Gulf as yet or likely to be soon. They will probably make an attempt to take Charleston soon with their iron-clads, but my opinion is greatly strengthened of late that Mobile will not be attacked by gunboats; but it behooves the hurrying up of the iron-clads to make defense more certain if they should attempt it.
The news of Burnside's defeat is grand; they say 12,000 to 15,000 killed and wounded. New York is in great gloom over it. I send a New York World "for the Club of 17," giving particulars. Let me hear from you soon. Where in hell is the Florida? She could be doing more good than 25,000 men. Our ships get no freight here on any terms. Insurance 5 1/2 war risk in New York and going up; it's killing to their commerce.
Sincerely, your friend.
General Banks will attack Port Hudson so soon as possible for him to get his army organized. Butler had 10,000 men previously.
General S. COOPER, Adjt. and Insp. General, Richmond:
The above is from a reliable source in Havana. The information is derived by him from New York, Key West, and other points.
S. B. BUCKNER,
Major-General, Commanding District of the Gulf.