The above is unanimously concurred in by the general and staff officers whom I have had in consultation with me, and this dispatch is intended to take the place of the one I forwarded to you last night.
TH. H. HOLMES,
YAZOO CITY, MISS., December 9, 1862.
Lieutenant-General PEMBERTON, C. S. A.,
Commanding Department of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: The Navy Department having instructed me to discontinue work on the gunboats at this place unless the defenses of the Yazoo River should, in my opinion, be sufficient to keep the enemy from ascending that steam, I beg leave respectfully to submit a note on these defenses for your consideration:
They now consist of batteries mounting one light 8-inch gun, one heavy 8-inch, rifled, and a 24-pounders, rifled, and two siege 24-pounders, besides field artillery.
Of these guns I do not think more than two would be available against the enemy's armor-plated vessels. The raft is a strong barrier, impassable, in my opinion, to ships, so long as the enemy can be kept from landing on it to destroy it, and this may be prevented if firm men are placed at the howitzers and with rifles in the rifle-pits overlooking this important work. But I consider necessary to the completion of the whole defenses at least one 10-inch gun, so that when the enemy's progress shall be arrested at the raft he may be there destroyed. Without such addition to our batteries there I fear the enemy might lay under them with but little risk.
I beg leave to add that this note will be handed to you by Mr. John McFarland, a citizen of Yazoo City, a gentleman who has been long, zealously, and efficiently engaged in pushing on our public defenses, and one, permit me to add, who is every way worthy of a patient hearing from you regarding the defenses of the Yazoo Valley.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
ISAAC N. BROWN,
Commander, C. S. Navy, &c.
ABERDEEN, December 9, 1862.
Honorable JEFFERSON DAVIS:
DEAR SIR: I doubt not you have ascertained from more authentic sources the unhappy condition of affairs in this State. The army, if I am correctly informed, is in a most deplorable state as to its morale and organization; had enough before, its retreat from Abbeville, where so much labor has been done and which was supposed to be so strong a position, has, I fear, put the finishing touch to this inefficiency. Pemberton has not impressed himself either upon the people or the army; while the flank movement from Friar's Point, by which his retreat was forced, and which, it is declared, might have been prevented, has dealt a staggering blow upon those who desired to brace him with the public confidence. It seems that but few even know that General Pemberton is at the head of the army, and his want of prominence of itself at such a crisis depress the spirit of the people. It is yet called "Van Dorn's Army;" and the universal opprobrium which covers that officer, and the