Smith about discharging the large boats and putting their stores into warehouses. He declines doing anything about it, as he says that none of the transports can go over the falls until the gun-boats clear the way.
There are three Confederate gun-boats above the falls. There are 5 feet of water on the falls, but the gun-boats will require at least 8.
I have inquired diligently of the pilots as to the necessity of having of having heavy hawsers sent up to warp the steamers over. None of them tell the same story; some say that there is no necessity of hawsers got over with hawsers they have or by borrowing from the navy.
This will be rather a hard placed to establish a depot, as there are no white laborers to be hired, and the contrabands fit to work are being enlisted as fast as possible. Should any amount of stores come up, I shall rely upon the division train and details from the troops to warehouse the stores. I have neither blanks or clerks, but shall get along as well as possible for awhile.
The quartermasters inform me that they have no stores to ship below. The navy is seizing all the cotton they can get hold of. Every gun-boat is loaded with cotton, and the officers are taking it without regard to the loyalty of the owners. It looks to me like a big steal.
I have to request that you will direct some one of the quartermasters to send me a box of assorted blanks and stationery. I have not time before the steamer leaves to send an estimate. I send a package of letters and have to request that Mr. Suydam stamp and forward them, as I have no stamps. This is decidedly a hard place; scarcely anything to eat, and a most miserable place to sleep. I forgot to mention that General Smith has very little land transportation and no tents, which is another reason for his declining to discharge the boats. I write this very hurriedly, in order to have it go by this steamer, but will give you a full report as soon as I can find out what is to be done.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. N. WELCH,
Captain and Assistant Quartermaster.
HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,
Port Hudson, La., March 19, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel R. B. IRWIN,
SIR: In compliance with instructions from headquarters Department of the Gulf, the First Brigade, First Division, Corps d'Afrique, commanded by Colonel William H. Dickey, Twelfth Infantry, Corps d'Afrique, proceeded on board transports on the morning of the 17th, with orders to proceed to Turnbull's Island, at the mouth of the Red River. The Nineteenth Regiment, Corps d'Afrique, were disembarked at this post March 15, the steamer conveying them being required for other purposes, and have since awaited orders and are still without them.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
GEO. L. ANDREWS,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding Post.