they made to attack the Federal arms, and likewise to discover a great many of their future plans.
One of them is a plan for the capture of New Orleans in the ensuing spring. Admiral Buchanan, who is now commanding at Mobile, has succeeded, during the last year, in building a considerable fleet. It consists of the following vessels: The Tennessee, a gun-boat and ram, carrying six guns (two Brooke and four Blakely) and is calculated to run 16 knots an hour. There is likewise another vessel building at Selma, which will be completed by the 1st of March, and is said to be even stronger than the Tennessee, being destined to carry ten guns. There is likewise completed the Baltic, a ram and gun-boat, carrying four guns; very slow. The Tuscaloosa ditto. The Gaines, the Powhatan, and another vessel, each a very powerful wooden ram, carrying a magnificent armament, and very fast. Besides these there are two vessels in the Tombigbee to be 4-inch iron-plated. One, beside the above mentioned, in process of completion, at Selma, and another at Montgomery. All these vessels are to be finished by the ensuing spring.
It is Admiral Buchanan's intention to move with this fleet and break the blockade at Mobile, and move around to New Orleans, take the city by surprise, assisted by a land force under Generals R. Taylor and Johnston. There is, besides these, a fleet to move down the Red River and engage the attention of the boats thereabouts stationed.
General, I respectfully submit the above to your consideration.
CAIRO, December 19, 1863.
Colonel Parsons has just left me. I will order the gun-boats to carry out his wishes. Nothing is delayed.
DAVID D. PORTER,
NASHVILLE, December 20, 1863.
General J. H. WILSON:
I send you dispatches just received from Foster. Tell General Thomas to have the clothing, camp equipage, ordnance stores, &c., called for,* forwarded as rapidly as possible, with the two new boats nearly ready. We must send these things.
U. S. GRANT,
NASHVILLE, December 20, 1863-11 a.m.
I will send you the articles called for as fast as possible. Supplies from the country must be collected as rapidly as possible, and every
*See Part I, pp. 284, 447.