army, I am sending regiments forward as fast as they can be organized and transportation procured. Recruiting is slow, and will be till Congress passes the conscription bill which they have been discussing more than two months. It is very difficult to procure horses and transportation for animals and forage. To obviate this in some degree, you may be obliged to put some of your cavalry in the field on foot, to be mounted as you procure animals in the enemy's country. General Grant did this in Mississippi with complete success. Some of his men were mounted on mules an instructed to change them for horses wherever they could find them. Would [it] not be possible to purchase Mexican horses at Matamoras? They are small but hardy, and would answer well for a campaign in Texas. General Carleton was ordered, some time since, to occupy the line of the Rio Grande as far down as possible. Although he may be took weak to open communication with you, he may, by occupying some points in Northern Texas, afford a shelter to refugees, and perhaps draw some of the rebel troops in that direction.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
WESTERN GULF BLOCKADING SQUADRON,
Pensacola Bay, February 11, 1864.
Major General N. P. BANKS,
Commanding Department of the Gulf:
DEAR GENERAL: I am going ahead with my part of the programme to assist General Sherman. I will have my six mortar-boats pounding away at the fort in Grant's Pass by the time this reaches you, as they all leave here to-day for the Mississippi Sound, but I do wish you could let General Asboth have a few cavalry to cut that railroad at Sparta. It would be as great a move as General McPeherson's, as that is the road by which all the troops are now coming into Mobile. An engineer of the road came in yesterday who says that about 7,000 men have already passed down that road to Mobile, and thinks there are about 10,000 there now. They evidently expect an attack daily, and with 2,000 or 3,000 men (soldiers) I will gratify them in a week. I am all ready at a moment's notice. I can hear nothing new of the Tennessee, but she is not yet over the bar. I think the raid upon the railroad at Sparta could all be done in ten days. My light-drought boats have not yet arrived, which distresses me much.
Very truly, yours, &c.,
D. G. FARRAGUT.
DONALDSONVILLE, LA., February 11, 1864-7 p. m.
Chief of Staff:
SIR: I have sent 60 mounted men to the west of here toward Bayou Pigeon to make a reconnaissance. The route I have laid out for them will take about three days. Colonel Sheldon reports everything quit at Plaquemine.
W. O. FISKE,