Everything he told us about that vessel proved to be true. He is from New Orleans. His farther and all his relations are from the South. They are now trying to procure him a berth as midshipman on one of the rams building by the Lairds. He is constantly with the Southerners here, and hears their talk. In one of their conferences yesterday, he heard them say that the first thing that was to be done after they got the rams out was to attack and retake New Orleans. This seemed to be a well-understood thing with them, and was to be done immediately. I give you this for what it is worth. There is no doubt but what that is now contemplated by those over here, but the programme may be entirely changed at Richmond before they sail from here.
If these vessels get out, they will give us much trouble. I regard them as the most formidable and dangerous vessels afloat. No time should be lost in making preparations to meet them. They will be fast sailors, making 13 knots per hour, armed with the heaviest and most improved guns, and almost, if not quite, invulnerable. The collector told me day before yesterday that the contract price for building each of them was 225,000 pounds sterling. This he no doubt got from the Lairds themselves, as he sees talks with them, at least I infer so from the way he talks to me.
* * * * * * *
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
T. H. DUDLEY.
Referred to the General-in-Chief, to be communicated to Major-General Banks with such instructions as he deems proper.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
Washington, July 29, 1863.
Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR:
SIR: Can we not renew the effort to organize a force to go to Western Texas?
Please consult with the General-in-Chief on the subject.
If the Governor of New Jersey shall furnish any new regiments, might not they be put into such an expedition? Please think of it. I believe no local object is now more desirable.
OFFICE CHIEF OF ARTILLERY, HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, July 29, 1863.
General STONE, Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I would respectfully recommend the following disposition of the heavy and light artillery, with a view of bringing the batteries under their proper commanders, as well as the best dispositions for re-equipment and drill for future operations:*
1. First Indiana [Heavy] Artillery and the Sixth Regiment Michigan Volunteers to remain at Port Hudson.
* These recommendation were embodied in Special Orders, Numbers 184, Headquarters Department of the Gulf, July 29, 1863.