NEW ORLEANS, February 19, 1863.
SIR: In answer to your application for the export of mules from this port to Mexico, I have the honor to say that while under other circumstances than those that attend the application presented by yo it wold afford me great pleasure to comply with your request, the present condition of affairs in this department, and the interest of the Government I represent, make it impracticable for me to do so. A large number of the plantations in the State have been deprived of mules in number of the plantations in the State have been deprived of mules in various ways during the past year. The cultivation of the staples of the country, as well as the cereals which are indispensable to preserve the people from famine, requires, as far as possible, these estates should be restored with animals of this clads. there are not now in the department sufficient to supply this demand at reasonable prices, and there must necessarily be for some time a deficiency of this class of transportation for the domestic service of the country.
In addition, I have also the honor to suggest that the military necessity of the Government required that all property of this description that can possibly be spared from the cultivation of the sill is indispensably necessary to the public service of the United States. Fort these reasons I am unable to comply with you request.
In answer to the suggestion of the consul of France, Monsieur ----, that it had been understood that you requisition for mules would be answered, to some extent at least, but the military authorities of the department (a suggestion that was also made to me by Admiral Reynaud and the late consul, Mejan), I have only to say that I had not received from my predecessor any intonation of this character, and that if such expectation was entertained, it could not at present be fulfilled, for the reason I have stated.
I have the honor to be, with much respect, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
ASST. QUARTERMASTER'S OFFICE, 19TH ARMY CORPS,
New Orleans, La., February 20 [?], 1863.
Lieutenant Col. RICHARD B. IRWIN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Nineteenth Army Corps:
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following facts, for the consideration of the commanding general, as to the resources of so much of this country as I have knowledge of, in its capability to furnish means of land transportation, for the use of our forces operating here:
It is well known that the ordinary land transportation of the county, existing on its plantations, consists of heavy cotton carts, with clumsy bodies, on two wheels, without covers, drawn by three mules harnessed abreast. the carts at this time are very much out of repair. The harness in most cases is patched up with old ropes and stings, the leather old and worthless and unfit for service or repair. The mules are generally old and lazy; they are not raised here, and as forage is scarce only sufficient are brought to work the plantation. As it appears, crops will be made this year; all the teams will be wanted, and there will be no surplus. It is said that many of the best mules an horse were put into service by the rebel authorities. Should the planters not work their plantations generally, many mules of the quality just stated might be obtained by seizure. Many of those already taken, however, are