Department. The sub-agent here seem to think you would have no control of this cotton. I am not fully advised as to your authority to dispose of this.
As I am informed your chief difficulty in securing cargoes of foreign goods and in fulfilling your contracts is in getting cotton to Brownsville, it seems to me it would be judicious to enter into some arrangement with Mr. Simpson or other parties to exchange cotton in the interior for sterling bills or for foreign goods.
I presume the War Department has furnished you with lists of articles to be purchased. The list which I inclose, as well as that of Major Minter, referred to, has in view the supply of the present wants of this department without reference to the lists may have been sent you from Richmond.
Your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS MARINE DEPARTMENT OF TEXAS,
Houston, June 24, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Houston, Tex.:
CAPTAIN: In compliance with Special Orders, Numbers 164 (Paragraph XII), Headquarters District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, Houston, June 18, 1863, I have the honor to report the following as the present condition of the gunboat fleet:
There are no gunboats on the station at Galveston; the Bayou City and Diana both at Harrisburg, awaiting orders, and ready to steam up at a moment's notice. The Bayou City has no armament. I trust orders may issue to provide her with guns at the earliest moment. The Diana has two brass 24-pounder howitzers, 50 rounds ammunition, in charge of Lieutenant [H.] Connor, and detachment of 20 men of Company B, Cook's regiment artillery.
The Uncle Ben is engaged in removing obstructions at the mouth of the Sabine River. She is armed with two 12-pounder iron guns, 70 rounds ammunition; one 12-pounder mountain howitzer, 43 rounds ammunition, in charge of Captain [K. D.] Keith, Company B, Spaight's battalion. The J. H. Bell, at Sabine Pass, has one 24-pounder iron gun, 50 rounds ammunition; one 12-pounder mountain howitzer, under Captain [F. H.] Odlum, Company F, Cook's regiment artillery. These men are well drilled and disciplined.
There is not sufficient space on the deck of the Uncle ben to maneuver the two 12-pounder iron guns to advantage. I would respectfully request that, if possible, another gun be substituted; also, if practicable, long-range guns may be ordered to the J. H. Bell and Bayou City. The efficiency of all the boats would be greatly increased if it is possible to furnish them guns of heavier metal and longer range than those they now have in position.
The steamboats John F. Carr and Mary Hill are being fitted up at Lynchburg for service in Matagorda Bay. They will be ready in a few days.
I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. M. MASON,
Major, and Chief of Marine Artillery.
6 R R-VOL XXVI, PT II