cavalry escort to examine the fortified line and reconnoiter the neighboring country. The position is a favorable one, elevated and surrounded in half circle by swamps connecting with the bay in front of the town; the woods all cleared to proper distance. The only disadvantage to the present fortifications is a hill, called the Old Spanish Fort, commanding Fort Arnold.
On the bay two of the wharves are destroyed, and only one can be used, with proper caution.
The houses are nearly all deserted, and deprived not only of their furniture, but mostly of doors and windows, the streets covered with high weeds and bushes.
I visited Mr. Morino, the Spanish consul; he is the father-in-law of Mallory, the Secretary of the Navy at Richmond; has two sons in the rebel army; contributed $25,000 to Jeff. Davis' Cabinet, and claims Pensacola as neutral ground, against which I politely protested.
The other inhabitants, very few in number, also strongly sympathize with the rebellion, and require a more vigilant control than heretofore given.
General Clanton, commanding at Pollard, was at Pensacola with 300 men in October, and Major [E. A.] McWhorter came in with 150 cavalry two days after my visit there, but generally their scouting parties do not number more than 10 to 15 men.
Reports concur that they have a regiment of infantry and some cavalry at Fifteen-Mile Station, on the Pensacola Railroad, and are fortifying that point; cavalry pickets on both flanks as before. (See report of November 23, Numbers 42.)
Deserters are constantly coming in, taking the oath of allegiance. Fifteen young men have enlisted in my cavalry company.
One officer of the Confederacy, Lieutenant howard, reported also voluntarily with valuable information and took the oath.
Several contraband, who succeeded in reaching our lines, were added to the Fourteenth Regiment, Corps d'Afrique. One of them came in with a heavy iron bar on his leg, wandering with it three weeks through woods and swamps.
The practice of allowing citizens to come in from beyond our lines and go out again with provisions I have suspended, and a schooner coming from Milton, Fla., under a similar pretext, was confiscated by my order.
Not knowing whether my report of November 25 (Numbers 48) has safely reached the department headquarters, I beg to inclose a copy of it,* requesting the commanding general's decision and orders.
Very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
WASHINGTON, D. C.,
December 7, 1863.
Commanding Department of the Gulf, New Orleans, La.:
GENERAL: I have just received your letter of November 18, "off Aransas Pass."+ In this you say the "best line of defense for Louisiana, as well as for operations against Texas, is by Berwick Bay and the Atchafalaya." I fully concur with you in this opinion. It is the line which
*See p. 820.
+See Rio Grande Expedition, etc., p. 409.