War of the Rebellion: Serial 042 Page 0558 W.FLA.,S.ALA.,S.MISS.,LA.,TEX.,N.MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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J. H. Berrien, medical director; Major B. Bloomfield, chief quartermaster; Major E. B. Pendleton, chief commissary of subsistence; Major S. T. Fontaine, chief of ordnance; Major William Kearny, assistant inspector-general; Captain E. P. Turner, assistant adjutant-general, in charge of office; Captain W. A. Alston, assistant adjutant-general;Captain C. M. Mason, acting assistant adjutant-general; Captain T. Heermann, engineer corps; Lieutenant S. D. Yancey, acting assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenant W. T. Carrington, assistant ordnance officer; Lieutenant J. A. Murray, aide-de-camp; Lieutenant S. L. Smith, acting aide-de-camp; Major E. W. Cave, volunteer aide-de-camp; Captain H. S. Sprigg, volunteer aide-de-camp.

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By command of Major General J. Bankhead Magruder:


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Provost-Marshal's Office, Covington, La., December 29, 1863.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: Under verbal instructions from you, I herewith make a report on the condition of affairs in this section of country.

I arrived here on 7th instant, and have labored diligently to understand the country and people. My conclusion so far is that most of the leading men of this district, composed of the parishes of Saint Tammany, Livingston, and Washington, have been engaged in shipping cotton to New Orleans, and, in many instances, under the orders of general officers.

In the latter part of November, a lot of cotton (57 bales) left Madisonville for New Orleans under the order of Colonel (now General)Logan, and since my arrival I have been approached for permission to ship cotton to New Orleans under an order from General Maury, commanding the Department of the Gulf, in favor of R. S. Kirk. Said order was under date of November-, 1863, and read "to ship occasionally a few bales of cotton through the lines," and I have no doubt that it was genuine, as General Maury has since sent a special officer for the order.

On the 10th and 11th I burned four vessels, and in regard to them please find inclosed a copy of my report to General Johnston. I am not as yet aware of the view taken of the burning by the general commanding, as I have not received any communication from headquarters since the order assigning me to this duty.

I would respectfully ask instructions as to the course to be pursued in regard to parties having or claiming to have permission under the Government to ship cotton through the line, as also how far the order of a superior officer giving such permission is to be obeyed.

Troops are much needed in this district, as at present there is only one company (about 50 men) to guard the entire lake shore, and, although very efficient, still, it is almost impossible to check trade with the enemy with so small a force. However, I have no hesitation in stating that no cotton has passed the lines of this district under any pretext whatever since my arrival.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, and Provost-Marshal.