Permit me again to state that our tents are worn out, yet we have quite comfortable quarters for the men, which we built since coming here. I learn that the troops have generally been paid up to January 1, 1864. My regiment has not received any pay since August 31, 1863, and many are in great need of money, especially of officers, and, if possible, I would urge that the provost-marshal be directed to pay us before leaving for New Orleans. The fortifications have been nearly completed several times, and are sufficiently advanced at present so that the guns are in position and can be used, but the sand out of which they are constructed is so light and dry that the winds blow it away, and it is almost impossible to keep the works in repair. Captain Blanchard, of the engineers, has caused large quantities of sea grass to be gathered and placed upon the works, and sowed oats on them, with seems to prevent the destruction by the wind very much, and may, with care and attention, obviate the difficulty entirely. We experience considerable difficulty in procuring firewood, having but two wagons at the post.
My scouts have several times been in Corpus Christi, and find no enemy. Deserters still continue to come in slowly. I have no doubt that if we were on the mainland very many deserters would come into our lines, and there is not the least difficulty in taking possession of and holding Corpus Christi at any time it may be deemed proper.
WM. G. THOMPSON,
Major, Commanding Twentieth Iowa and Post Aransas.
Brigadier General C. P. STONE, Chief of Staff, Dept. of the Gulf:
The subjects within the control of the corps commander referred to herein have been referred to the corps quartermaster here, with orders in the case. The matter of the payment of the troops is referred to department commander.
E. O. C. ORD,
Major-General of Vols., Commanding 13th Army Corps.
OFFICE CHIEF QUARTERMASTER, DEPT. OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, La., January 20, 1864.
Brigadier General C. P. STONE,
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I have the honor to call attention to the levees in this State, and ask that they may be repaired under the direction of the provost-marshal's department. That department has its officers everywhere, and whatever their duties, they cannot be so onerous but that the matter of levees can be attended to by them. All negroes have been converted into soldiers, and I am deprived of labor for my department, for it is impossible to get any colored troops to work, either through the worthlessness of officers or their too great individual influence. The best white troops that the world ever saw are and have been those that have been made to toil constantly.
It is simply impossible for me to build levees this year, and I would urge that the negroes upon the plantations, Government and