HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS, New Orleans, La., February 26, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel RICHARD B. IRWIN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Dept. of the Gulf:
COLONEL: Seeing that the enemy hold Sabine Pass, Galveston Bay, and the mouth of Brazos River, intermediately between our positions on the Mississippi River and on the Gulf coast of Texas, and learning from Major-General Ord's report of inspection that detachments of the Thirteenth Army Corps are stationed at Brownsville, Point Isabel, on the inlets to Corpus Christi Bay, and on Matagorda Bay, it has occurred to me that the efficiency and comfort of these troops, and the importance of speedy and certain communication between the latter remote positions and headquarters at this city, require that a regular line of steamers should be established between New Orleans and Point Isabel.
Inquiring of Captain Armstrong, assistant quartermaster, on duty whit this corps, for information upon this subject, he states that the United States has ten steamers employed in service along the coast between here and the Rio Grande, viz, the Clinton, Saint Mary's, Crescent, Fairhaven, Corinthian, Sophia, George Peabody, Alabama, Alliance, and Exact. Five of this number, if assigned to this service, would, upon the assumption that the round trip would occupy ten days, be enough to supply a boat to start every other day from New Orleans, and allow reasonable time for loading and unloading at different points. This arrangement, besides securing the objects named and releasing five boats from this field of service, would avoid any confusion and delay resulting from irregular communications, and the arriving and unloading of several vessels at the same wharf at the same time.
The detachment now at Indianola, when removed to Pass Cavallo, will be deprived of house timber, their main resource for fuel at sent from this place. At least such is my inference, from the fact that information is this moment brought that the quartermaster at Indianola is asking for such supplies to be sent from here.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN A. McCLERNAND,
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF NORTHEASTERN ARKANSAS, Batesville, February 26,m 1864.
MAJOR: In reply to your letter of 23rd instant, I have the honor to state that the detachment Eleventh Missouri Cavalry Volunteers ordered by Major-General Shcofield to concentrate at Salem, Ark., from Roll and Springfield, Mo., have not yet reached here, and my scouts from Salem Ark., state that nothing had been heard from them up to 23rd instant. I am firmly of the opinion that troops ought to occupy Searcy and Jacksonport, in this State.
The proper way is to keep these three points as rallying points held by infantry and permit the mounted troops to scour the country. In this manner infinite good would result to the country and the