others, be put to work immediately under their own oversees and the general direction of the provost-marshals. There are large plantations where no negroes can be enlisted nor carried away. The expense of tools and materials should be assessed against these plantations, for they cannot be considered a legitimate charge against quartermasters' appropriations. None of the proceeds of these plantations come into my hands; they go to the Treasury and private parties. It is no more right that my time and energies should be employed at this than in any other private or State interest.
All control of plantations and their revenues have been surrendered; let the parties receiving them be made to do the work of their own self-preservation and bear the expenditures thereof. It will not be done voluntarily, and the State government seems to take no interest andd exercise no authority in such matters. The railroad will probably be flooded and impassable from New Orleans to Brashear when the river reaches its height; the Bonnet Carre country likewise. The levee on the opposite bank of the river from New Orleans to Donaldsonville and thence down Bayou La Fourche requires examination and repair. I have never been able to procure recruits for a regiment of quartermaster's men to man steamers on account of the selfishness of interested enrolling officers, or other causes.
They whole scheme which I advocated so strongly, to my mind, is a failure in many respects; our labor is crippled, the expenses of the quartermaster's department doubled as regards employes, and in many other respects, and while our labor is all disposed of, our fighting force has not in fact been so rapidly increased. Why cannot all plantation hands be put upon the levee this winter? Why cannot I get 1,000 such hands at Brashear City, or two colored regiments? Why cannot the colored troops at Port Hudson do their own quartermaster labor? Why cannot 1,000 be employed and sent across the lake to procure lumber and timber to house those remaining behind? Why cannot I have regiments in my department as well as the engineers?
I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. B. HOLABIRD,
Colonel, Chief Quartermaster.
HDQRS. NINETIETH REGIMENT NEW YORK VOLS.,
Bayou Boeuf, La., January 20, 1864.
Captain WILLIAM J. DENSLOW,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:
SIR: I have the honor to inform you that 3 of the men of my command absented themselves last night from camp without permission, and had not been heard from until this evening, when a citizen informed me that they had been taken prisoners by a party of rebels near Grass Lake, which is within 6 miles of this station, supposed to be the same party that removed the rails on the road. The citizen who gave the information saw the prisoners and recognized them, they being at the time in the hands of 4 rebel cavalry-men (armed), who stated that they would "be down in a few days and take the rest of them." I sent out a file of mounted men and 1 officer, armed with revolvers, to gain as much information as possible.