force of some 300, which would be able to whip any cavalry force the enemy could bring against them.
Having the Amite River sweeping along in from 12 to 16 miles of Baton Rouge, it affords a safe retreat and points from which attacks can be most advantageously made. Should this force be wanted to re-enforce Colonel Gantt a march of 15 miles would place it in proper position.
I hope you will pardon the liberty I have taken in making these suggestions; they are made with the utmost respect, and prompted alone by the conviction that the line is a most important one to any the enemy. Should you think proper to consolidate three companies with my battalion, I propose at once to commence active operations. Everything necessary for the support of the command can be obtained down there.
W. H. GARLAND,
P. S.-Since writing my letter a scouting party from the Amite River has just returned and brought in 3 deserters, which makes 17 that I have received.
My scouts represent everything quiet on the river, but that the river is falling fast and the people were fearful of inroads by the Yankees. The deserters left Baton Rouge on last Saturday, and they state that there were not more than 4,000 Yankees there and that their pickets do not extend more than 2 miles from town.
These deserters state that their whole company would desert if they got a chance. This is a strong reason for my being down there with an effective force. Consolidate some of the unattached companies with my battalion and I will use every effort to give you a good account of the force, and I feel satisfied I can do so.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. H. GARLAND,
PORT HUDSON, April 9, 1863.
Farragut sent down a dummy last night, but only drew fire from sharpshooters. His fleet reported gone up the river.
PORT HUDSON, April 10, 1863.
More troops can properly be withdrawn, but should be rapidly sent back in case of need.
Port Hudson, La., April 10, 1863.
COLONEL: The major-general commanding directs that you send