of 22nd instant, just received, and to say in reply that it must be a mistake that Banks' whole army is operating against Alexandria from the indications of their renewed activity against us on the line of the river, they being in large force at Hard Times, most probably with the design of crossing and being re-enforced with a body of cavalry, which came through this department without as yet being stopped or captured, our deficiency in cavalry being very great. Could I possibly spare the infantry to re-enforce you they could not at present be transported across the river, several additional gunboats having to-day passed down by Grand Gulf, so increasing their number between that point and Port Hudson as to effectually prevent the crossing of troops were it even in my power to aid you.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. C. PEMBERTON,
PORT HUDSON, April 29, 1863.
Effective infantry, 8,600; artillery, 1,700, and cavalry, 1,400, including Ponchatoula force.
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., April 30, 1863.
Major General DABNEY H. MAURY,
Commanding, &c., Mobile, Ala.:
GENERAL: I avail myself of the opportunity afforded by the return of Major Sheliha to communicate with you on the assumption of your new command. With your military duties you are too familiar to require specific instructions. I requested by telegraph General Buckner to communicate with you fully on the plans adopted by him for the supply of his army and other matters of quasi civil administration. I wish generally the arrangement which he had initiated carried out. Among other things, under his recommendation the action of the Department, a large amount of sugar and molasses accumulated or in transitu in your department were ordered to be impressed and held for the Government, to be paid for at prices ascertained by the assessment provided for by the late law of Congress. In doing this I did not mean that the impressment should be carried to such an extent as not to leave fair supplies for the consumption of the people in your command. In the spirit of the law of Congress surplus supplies only should be impressed for Government use. You will observe, too, that contracts have been made by General Buckner for supplies of provisions and other stores under agreement that cotton should be either furnished or allowed to be purchased by contractors. At the same time it was represented to him that it was not the policy of the Department to allow the shipment of cotton to or from any Confederate port in the possession of the enemy, and that it was especially objectionable that such shipment to or from New Orleans should be tolerated. A general authority had some time since been given General Pemberton to make