In the destitution of the quartermaster's department here, I have been obliged to take all the soft coal in the private yards in the city, and, with this, hope to keep the transports going until coal shall arrive from up river.
The United States marshal, under the orders of the district judge of the United States, this morning took possession of the Alabama, and drove all the workmen and coalers off, saying he would teach the military authorities to respect the courts. As I had formally borrowed the Alabama, and had her in possession for thirty-six hours, it is difficult to see what could have been the object of such a violent proceeding on the marshal's part. As it was no time to wait, I immediately sent Colonel Abert on board with a detachment of the First Infantry, and arrested the deputy marshals on board, caused work to be resumed, and then wrote a respectful letter tot he judge on the subject. The result of the marshal's proceedings was a delay of nearly a day in getting off the battery to you, and I informed him that a repetition of such interference with my forwarding re-enforcements to you would place him in close custody. General Thomas, Adjutant-General, fully approved all that was done in the premises.
Everything is quiet at Port Hudson and along the river. Port Hudson lines, interior and exterior, are expected to be completed before the end of the month. General Andrews reports them now fully in condition to hold with his present force.
General Franklin is at Vermillion, and has recently made heavy reconnaissances to Carrion Crow Bayou and in the Mermenton country. One regiment of Texas cavalry has appeared from Niblett's Bluff, and the force in his front seems to be increasing and waiting for something.
I do not think it will be well to weaken him materially beyond the withdrawal of the 5,000 already taken, until he can withdraw to a less extended line.
Very respectfully, I am, general, your obedient servant,
CHAS. P. STONE,
Brigadier-General, and Chief of Staff.
November 12, 1863.
The Honorable Judge of U. S. District Court, New Orleans, La.:
YOUR HONOR: I am greatly concerned on learning that there is some difficulty about the steamer Alabama, a prize under adjudication in the court over which Your Honor so worthily presides. The day before yesterday I was officially informed that the steamer in question had been transferred to the Navy Department, and, as he services would be of incalculable advantage tot he army at the moment, I addressed myself to the commodore commanding the West Gulf Squadron, asking for the use of her for one month. My request was immediately granted by the commodore, and the necessary repairs and preparations for service were commenced that night, and have been continued until the present time, when she is nearly ready for sea. it is of vital importance to the full success of military operations now prosecuting under the eye of the major-general commanding the department that the troops and supplies ordered on this steamer should reach him at once, and the vessel should sail without fail at the first moment practicable. The steamer must sail as soon as she can be prepared. The public service of the country requires it. I am ready to give any