BATON ROUGE, LA., February 12, 1864.
(Received 9.20 a. m.)
Chief of Staff:
Nothing new this morning. Our scouts report no rebel troops between here and Port Hudson.
P. ST. GEO. COOKE,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Army.
DONALDSONVILLE, LA., February 12, 1864-6.30 p. m.
(Received 6.45 p. m.)
Brigadier General C. P. STONE,
Chief of Staff:
Colonel Sheldon reports that he hears various rumors of movements of the rebels west of the Atchafalaya, but can get hold of nothing tangible. Everything quiet in this vicinity.
W. O. FISKE,
HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Brazos Santiago, Tex., February 12, 1864.
Major General F. J. HERRON,
Commanding Troops, Rio Grande Frontier:
SIR: After a personal examination of the works above and near Brownsville, I am convinced they are not reliable either in arms or construction. You will make requisitions for 24 and 32 pounder howitzers, brass, field, or sea-coast, sufficient to put two good guns or howitzers of heavy caliber in each inclosed or partly inclosed works. The revetments will fall down from the shock of our own guns; you will strengthen them. The enemy can, by crossing the river, enfilade and take in reverse the whole line of works, which is entirely open on that side, and the river only 300 or 400 yards wide. You will therefore erect such field-works within the present line on the river bank as will prevent an attacking force establishing batteries on the opposite bank within range, except by regular approaches. Close the gorges of the small works by traverses. You will raise the parapet of the work in front of each gun so that the cannoneers will not, as now, have half their persons exposed. Construct embrasures for the guns. Build sheds and magazines within the works for thirty days' supply of ammunition and provisions. Repair Frot Brown and mount six heavy guns therein, as soon as you can get them. Equip and mount your cavalry, not one-fourth of which Colonel Davis reports as mounted on horses fit for immediate use. You report that though you wrote for forage ont eh 17th of last month, stating that not a pound cold be had by purchase, Colonel Davis reports that great neglect has been shown in providing means to equip and forage to supply the poor horses he brought with him, and the ponies he has been furnished with by the contract made by the chief quartermaster, Colonel Holabird. I will bring these facts to the notice of the general commanding. With a knowledge of the arid, extensive, and desolate plains between your post and the habitable portion of Texas, and that only a good cavalry force can reach either the enemy or yourself, without ample time being allowed for