JANUARY 27, 1864.
Respectfully referred to Colonel S. B. Holabird, chief quartermaster. The major-general commanding desires to know if the steamer Warrior has yet been repaired, and if the additional quartermasters asked for can be sent.
CHAS. P. STONE,
Brigadier-General, Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,
Matagorda Peninsula, January 22, 1864.
Major General E. O. C. ORD,
Commanding Thirteenth Corps, New Orleans:
We are greatly crippled here for want of proper facilities for transportation on our inland waters and of lightening vessels which arrive at the anchorage off the bar (some 4 miles by the channel), and which cannot come in. We have here now two small high pressure boars which cannot carry a great load, especially when batteries, troops, or wagons and animals are concerned. They are both so much worn ou as to need constant repaired, and if by accident one of them gets aground, as one of them has been now for four days, we are completely, as the sailors say, on our beam-ends. Besides these (the Planter and Matamoras), there is the Warrior, entirely unserviceable until her boilers are repaired, and now used only as a wharf-boat; and a propeller tug, called the Tyler, which draws so much water that she can neighed come over the bar or approach within three-quarters of a mile of the shore at Indianola except when the tide is well up. We have used her for towing a schooner back and forth to and from Indianola, the only means of transportation to that place which we have had at command for ten days.
The Matamoras been laid up for two days patching her boilers, and is still out of use. In these salt waters it is absolutely necessary for a high-pressure boat to clean out her boilers every two or three days; otherwise they are not safe, and in burning coal they are fast becoming seriously damaged. Neither of the high-pressure boats here are really safe. Should it at any time be necessary to hurry troops from here to Indianola or elsewhere, or from there here, or even across the pass here from one side to another, or to communicate rapidly with dispatches, we are unable to do it. The Continental, a steamer too heavy to come over the bar, is now in here fourth day at her anchorage outside, and not one-fourth of here cargo removed from her. There is a boat there which had been there ten days, and is still unloaded. A new large steamer, supposed to be the belvedere, appears there this morning; she cannot come in. We have had tides 2 and 3 feet below the average for the last six days.
Five hundred of the enemy were reported at dark last night on Matagorda Island, 10 miles below Fort Esperanza. I immediately stopped unloading the Corinthian, and sent over the Fifteenth Maine to re-enforce the garrison. I shall throw more troops across to operate against us there. We must hold that point. It is now four days since I ordered the Seventeenth Ohio Light Battery and one 30-pounder Parrott to Indianola. We have thus far been able to move only on heavy piece and a section of the battery without animals. Should it be necessary, as it will be sooner or later, to our flank the