War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 1029 Chapter XXVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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cotton has become so complicated, on account of numerous orders and changes, that I do not know whether I will be interfered with or not. In view of all this I respectfully submit to you the necessity of granting me special assistance, as follows, viz: Authority to use unassigned conscripts as teamsters or privates from the ranks when these cannot be obtained; secondly, to take from the ranks or elsewhere such shoemakers, tanners, and tailors as I may need from time to time; and, thirdly, that I may be authorized to give the necessary certificates for the exportation of all cotton purchased by me on Government account, without referring to any local commander.

These suggestions, general, I am honestly convinced are for the best interest of the service, and I respectfully request your assistance, as without it I can accomplish but little, but with it a great deal.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. A. WASHINGTON,

Major and Quartermaster, C. S. Army.

JACKSON, March 31, 1863.

Major-General GARDNER,

Port Hudson, La.:

The Hartford, Albatross, and injured boat have gone down the river.

J. C. PEMBERTON,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

ENGINEER'S OFFICE,

Mobile, Ala., March 31, 1863.

Col. J. F. GILMER,

Chief of Engineer Bureau, Richmond:

COLONEL: Your letter of the 20th instant, inclosing sketch of obstructions for the Alabama River at Choctaw Bluff, has been received.

The plan seems to be an excellent one under certain circumstances and conditions, but I do not see how in the great depth and strong current at Choctaw Bluff the piers are to be held while sinking. The water is 70 feet dept and the bottom a quicksand, as reported by Colonel Robertson. At Owen Bluff, where the water is but 40 feet deep at the present high stage (and rock bottom), great difficulty has been met with in sinking the sawyers intended for the obstruction. It is believed that this will be overcome and that the experiment will prove successful. This is a small difficulty compared with that which would be presented by the sinking of crib-work in a depth of 70 feet at Choctaw.

I doubt whether it would be judicious to attempt the obstruction of the river at that point, though the place ought to be held by strong batteries. At no point above could the planting interests be so effectually protected. Batteries too, even in the much wider Mississippi, are recovering their former reputation, and it is presumed that no very formidable iron-clads can be brought into the Alabama. Another point higher up the river should be selected for occupation also, and should be armed as soon as guns can be had. Perhaps both conditions, that of defense and obstruction, may be satisfied in such a site. The river at Choctaw and Owen Bluffs are now 20 feet above ordinary low water.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. LEADBETTER,

Brigadier-General and Engineer.