from Pensanola reports Farragut there on last Wednesday with eight mortar-boats and four steamers, preparing to attack Grant's Pass; that his fleet, recently brought from the North, lies off the bar of Mobile Bay. The weather has been so hazy for several days that our pickets cannot see anything of such a fleet if it is there. The line of Grant's Pass is 30 miles from here. It is weak, and the difficulties of fortifying it are very great, while our means have not sufficient to make such defensive arrangements there as will certainly resist a determined effort of the enemy to force a passage. The line between Forts Morgan and Gaines is also very liable from the same causes to be forced. The channel is too wide and deep to defend or obstruct effectually. The battery to have been placed in the channel is not yet quite ready, nor has the admiral yet been able to move the Tennessee into the lower bay. The enemy will probably, therefore, be able to occupy the lower bay with his fleet of war ships, and will do so preliminary.
The whole effective force of the department is about 10,000. deduct the garrison of Forts Morgan, Gaines, Grant's Pass, and Cedar Point, and two regiments of cavalry, about 1,700 in all, which will not be available for defense of the city, and my effective garrison for Mobile will be about 8,300. I ought to have 6,000 or 7,000 additional troops to stand a siege successfully. there are breadstuffs enough here for 20,000 men six months, besides a fair supply of other subsistence as compared with our stock elsewhere. the quartermaster reports that the supply of grain in his store-houses, not considered in the above estimate, will give rations to 4,000 horses for six month. The ordnance supplies give me most anxiety. At the outer line I have about 250 rounds to each cannon. In and about the city I have not more than about 200 rounds for each siege gun. Of musket ammunition I have only about 200 rounds for the present force. I know the difficulties in procuring these things, and therefore submit these statements in no spirit of complaint, but in order that you may clearly decide how far the exigencies of the service elsewhere will admit of increasing my defensive means. I have received a dispatch this morning saying the enemy's vessels were advancing in direction of Grant;s Pass.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DABNEY H. MAURY,
P. S.- At 11 a. m. the enemy's fleet passed Pascagoula toward Grant's Pass. They had twelve or thirteen vessels, including the flag-ship.
In the Field, February 15, 1864.
[Major General S. D. LEE:]
GENERAL: I send to you Colonel Scott for the Tennessee regiment.
Let him have it and move as rapidly as he can to where he can get his own. You will give such orders as you think best as to his operations in future. General Thomas H. Taylor should proceed so soon as he can get to the field assigned him in East Louisiana and get up all the command he can. Dillon should be encountered to raise a regiment to form part of Taylor's brigade. Give to Scott authority to press horses if he shall need them; also, authority to taylor to do the same. Taylor was known as a merchant. Scott's regiment,