of this sort marring a plan I am maturing and hope shortly to put in operation for assailing those boats on an extended scale, with the prospect of accomplishing a result too valuable to be put in jeopardy by the action, though successful, of a single detachment; and I now respectfully ask that these young officers with their detachments, and all others to whom such commissions may have ben given, be ordered to report to me, to be worked into the organization of which I speak. The object proposed, the capture or destruction of the boats, is the same. The results they may produce single-handed must be partial; line the combination I am completing they may be of the most extended character.
My plan, which I have carefully matured, is as follows: From Manchac to Cairo there are seven degrees of latitude; in each of these degrees I am placing on the river a battalion of four companies of mounted rifles, and to each battalion I assign a field battery of four guns. These battalions are made up of the material se aide by law for the reserves and for the local defense. This force, more or less of which is in position, will be charged with the duty of defending the localities to which the several commands are assigned against the enemy from without and the enemy from within. It will be instructed to break up the navigation of the river, to destroy the commerce on the border, and to prevent all efforts at agriculture from being successful. It will be at the same time charged with the military police of the district to which it is assigned; it will prevent the river border being used as a hiding-place for deserters and marauders of all sorts, and will give protection to our planters who desire to return tot heir plantations to cultivate. It will thus restore order to a region that has suffered sadly for the want of protection, and will enable the courts to do their functions and enforce the laws. These result, should they be attained, and I cannot see how they can fail, will be enough tow arrant the organization, but I think it will prepare the way for attempting more, to wit, the capture of more or less of the gun-boats employed on the river. The battalions stationed along the river border from Cairo down will give me the command of all the men I require at the places I should require them. I propose, then, to place the movement under the command of a competent officer, who will ship on a transport well known in the river, which I could easily arrange to purchase. Once on the river the party would "round to" as usual, to deliver the mails alongside of the first gun-boat encountered going down and capture it. After removing the crew, they would ship on the prize as much force as was necessary to manage it and proceed down stream until they encountered the next, which would be captured in turn, and so on as long as success attended the enterprise or there were boats to be captured. The force necessary from whence to draw for a constant supply to man the captured boats would be found in the battalions distributed along the river by appointment at places agreed upon. The principal difficulty would be in the first capture, after which it would not be easy to say how far the work might not proceed. As I have remarked, I am getting the battalions into position as fast as they can be organized, and feel confident at least of being able to prevent the enemy's navigation, break up his commerce, and prevent his agriculture, as well as clear out the deserters and robbers and establish order in the bottom; for the rest it will turn on tact and skill