for our regular supplied of ordnance and essential valuable material and stores, and the Quartermaster-General directed that they should only be interfered with on great emergencies. Second. Our use of these steamers is used as a justification by Major Van Vliet, assistant quartermaster, for not sending the tons of stores now so greatly needed in the repairs and outfits steamers, railroads, and the necessary clothing ammunition, and ordnance for this department. The great movement of supply will fail if we constantly cut its artery; besides, I have written and urged that forage be sent here in ships towed by these vessels, promising dispatch in all cases to encourage its arrival. Third. The Catawba has on board a valuable cargo exposed to an incendiary, insubordinate mob, and in my judgment the vessel for this reason should not be sent upon a hostile coast; further, she cannot get near the beach; she may be detained two weeks waiting for weather suitable for removing her troops, and it is doubtful if a pound of their baggage could be taken off, and it is inhuman to set men ashore in this weather with no fuel or shelter, and causes resort to desperate measures to lighten off the baggage, and valuable steamers are used for this purpose. The Alabama took a week to repair because she was ordered alongside a vessel to lighter it, against every remonstrance of experience; she could have made an addition trip in the time wasted in lightening and repairing. Fourth. There are more troops and horses in Texas than we can supply for the moment; the horses will be lost, the men reduced to 10 per cent. in numbers and their spirits destroyed. The forage is not here to be had, and if here could not be shipped to Texas.
I should not write thus did I think the commanding general was aware of the exact number of vessels, the exact state of all supplies on hand, and the absence of all discipline in the troops to be shipped, the consequent loss of space in transporting, the incessant delays, the imperfect loading of the vessels sent, and multifarious drawbacks that cannot be mentioned. Men cannot be exposed on the upper decks of vessels in such weather as this and live; landing and lightening from heavy vessels with the present temperature is dismal. Having reported the absence of forage and the condition of affairs to the commanding general I can assure him that another week will see all the men and horses in Texas, if they can be forced on board of the vessels. Some vigorous staff officers are needed daily at Algiers (if such can be found), to see orders obeyed in a reasonable space of time.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
S. B. HOLABIRD,
Colonel, Chief of Quartermaster.
PORT HUDSON, LA., January 3, 1864-6 p. m.
(Received 6.30 p.m.)
Brigadier General C. P. STONE,
Chief of Staff:
Cavalry out foraging in direction of Jackson. Three regiments foraging near month of Red River. Ne new information from outside. General Reynolds passed here at 4 a. m. to-day, bound for New Orleans.
GEO. L. ANDREWS,