tion, so soon as he has fulfilled his duties at Monroe. If he can move by this route, time will be saved in placing the covering force at Trinity. I presume information will be sent me from department headquarters when General Mouton can be relieved from his present duty. I have now in position at Fort De Russy four siege guns on siege carriages, viz, three 24-pounders and one 30-pounder Parrott; these were placed to command the river until the permanent guns were in position. From Fort De Russy to Trinity is a comparatively short distance, and if the road which is being examined is practicable two or more of these guns might be taken to the latter place as soon as Mouton is likely to be in position to defend it. The three 24-pounders were taken by me at Brashear, and will be no great loss if they fall into the enemy's hands, which they will certainly do if I am unable to keep a large force at Trinity to protect them. When we begin work at Trinity one of the small boats now in the Ouachita should be placed in Little River to keep up communication with this point. It is only 18 miles from here to a point on Little River, always navigable when the Ouachita is up.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
ALEXANDRIA, January 11, 1864.
Brigadier General W. R. BOGGS,
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of dispatch No. 1686,* on the subject of axes, saws, &c. Acting on the spirit of the permission given to Mr. Post by the lieutenant-general commanding, I have allowed two other parties to bring in supplies and take out cotton. The supplies are delivered to an officer, who returns Government cotton, at 25 cents per pound. We take the goods at invoice price, the trader making his profit on the cotton.
As there is no Government cotton near the Atchafalaya, I have it hauled from near this point. This cotton cost the Government less than half the price at which we are exchanging it, and no money is required in the trade. It is understood that the parties bringing in goods shall not engage in private trade at all, under the penalty of forfeiting to the Government any goods of theirs we may have in our hands. Goods have already begun to come in, and I believe we can rely on obtaining full supplies. An account of these importations will be kept, and statements forwarded for the information of the lieutenant-general commanding. If the orders directing the chief quartermaster to take action intend that trade shall be established through my lines under his direction, I will at once stop my proceedings, as two sets officer and traders, acting in the same region of country, produce confusion.
I also beg to acknowledge the receipt of dispatch No. 1702, with accompanying letter of Lieutenant-Colonel Broadwell. In my judgment there can be no doubt of the propriety of selling at once all Government cotton liable to fall into the enemy's power; even if we sell for Confederate currency, it is much better than to destroy it. By so doing we would withdraw currency from circulation, and to that