sequently a little too small; but it shall be made to answer our purpose. A lot of powder was sent here to-day per steamer Beuaregard. The magazine will be fitted up to-morrow to receive it. I rode over the entire works here and at the raft on yesterday with General Walker. We also examined the ground at mouth of Bayou L'Eau-noir. He strongly condemned the works at the fort and casemates as inadequate for the defense of the river. I suppose he will soon write you his opinion.
Major Douglas is offended because you have directed me to cover the bombproof within the fort with iron instead of earth, and says [to use his own language] "Unless my plans are carried out I shall not send more force to Fort De Russy, except by orders from Lieutenant-General Smith."
He says that the use of iron defeats his principal object in having it, viz, to defilade the north and east fronts. That has been done to some extent by raising the east and south fronts about 18 inches, and should be elevated as much more. Defilading the fort seems to be the major's only good reason for his earth covering. That point both Colonel De Russy and myself thought could be better attained than by the major's plan, which, on close scrutiny, was found to defilade the northeast fronts only in part, and in asking your permission to change it [because we feared we could not hear from Major Douglas in time] we really thought we were not only doing our duty to the service, but that our course would meet the approval of Major D. himself. In that I am mistaken, and but for your positive order to cover the bombproof with iron instead of earth, I would cheerfully carry out his plan.
I thought it my duty to call your attention to Major Douglas' disapproval of the change made in his plans, and especially to his refusal to send down the 200 negroes as he promised in his letter of January 2, because that it is a matter of vital importance to the works, in which you are more deeply interested than any one else. It is very certain that without more hands the works here and at the raft cannot be carried on, and I am beginning to be strongly of the opinion that the raft, with more negroes and teams, &c., could be made a success, and, if successful, it would be worth all the forts and columbiads in the Trans-Mississippi Department.
The piling, though nearly complete, is much crippled by want of proper rope to run the machine, and is hobbling along painfully slow. We had cut yesterday 180 yards of rifle-pits immediately at the piling, and on the morrow General Walker will have rifle and, I believe, gun [cannon] pits dug at mouth of Bayou L'Eau-noir. The river was falling slightly up to this evening, but the few hours' rain will cause a little rise.
D. F. BOYD,
Captain and Chief Engineer.
[Inclosure No. 2.] HEADQUARTERS WALKER'S DIVISION, Marksville, January 17, 1864.
Major E. SURGET,
A. A. and I. G., Hdqrs. Dist. of W. La.:
MAJOR: On yesterday I made a personal reconnaissance of the river from Fort De Russy to the mouth of L'Eau-noir, principally in