this most competent officer promises every success in case of an attack by the gunboats of the enemy.
The men and officers are already well instructed in the use of these heavy guns. Ammunition is needed and has been required for.
On the land side the defenses consist of a cremaillere line, connected by redans and curtains, extending over the distance of 2 1/2 miles, the most important portion of which has already been completed, whilst the remaining part is being pushed forward by a large addition recently to the negro force employed on the work. Another line, extending for 6 miles, had been commenced and considerable time and labor expended upon it, to be abandoned by order of Lieutenant-General Pemberton, as I understand. The general commanding at Port Hudson considers the most important portion of the entire defenses completed when he shall have connected the unfinished half mile of the work on the north side by a succession of rifle pits, nature having already assisted in the defense thereabout by a number of impracticable gorges.
The quartermaster and commissary of the post report an estimate of six weeks' supplies on hand. Within my observation there has been the grossest neglect in suffering a very large amount of corn to accumulate upon the river landing, to be damaged by exposure and lost by the daily increase of water. Hundreds if not thousands of bushels of corn will have been so lost. General Gardner's attention was especially directed to this evil, which had grown before he had assumed command of the post.
Much of the subsistence already accumulated is likely to be damaged from insufficient protection. Houses suitable for the purpose should have been long since built. In my opinion too much attention cannot be bestowed upon the care and saving of the subsistence both for man and breast at this post, especially when, in case of an attack, a large number of cattle at present subsisting on the adjacent farms will have to be cared for within the lines. The chief quartermaster of the post, Major Bennett, reports a daily consumption of forage by animals in the public service to be within a fraction of 625 bushels of corn, this expenditure having been largely increased by the recent accession to the forces of both cavalry and artillery horses. I incline to the belief that his estimate of "sixty day's forage on hand" is largely in excess of the fact. A very large proportion of the quartermasters of this command are not bonded, nor have they heretofore rendered their accounts in accordance with regulations.
Quartermaster Captain McCluer is at present engaged in paying up the troops to the 1st of October; the officers to 1st of December. From all that I have heard serious detriment to the public service has grown out of the neglect to pay off at an earlier day the troops of this command. Captain McCluer reports that he has been unable to procure bounty money for any portion of them.
The commissary department appears to be efficiently administered by Major Stockdale, so far at least as his books and accounts present upon inspection. Very few of the commissaries of the brigades are bonded. The medical department, under Surg. T. R. Barnett, is apparently well cared for. He has besides the hospital of the post two others of large capacity - one at Jackson, La., 12 miles to the north of the post, with one at Clinton, 22 miles east on the line of communication with Camp Moore. As this position is most liable to molestation by the enemy I suggested to the surgeon the propriety of removing to some safer point.
The transportation at the post appears to be sufficient for all pur-