the hands of original producers, speculators, or foreigners, and that you will give him your opinion as to the proper mode of acting in reference to private cotton, whether it should be burned or not, or whether it can be made available for Government purposes.
Sixth. Major General W. T. Sherman, U. S. Army, has arrived at Vicksburg with his corps d'armee, and Brigadier-General Gresham,f rom Natchez, has joined him at that place with two white regiments, leaving only two white regiments and some negro organizations at Natchez. The troops concentrated at Vicksburg are probably destined for a demonstration against Jackson, Miss., but you will use every effort to gain more certain information as to its designs. Meanwhile, it is probable that, in the depleted state of the garrison at Natchez, Brigadier-General Polignac will make a demonstration with some light troops in the direction of Vidalia. His instructions are similar to those embodied in paragraph 3 of this letter.
Seventh. Information has reached here that the negro troops of the enemy are disaffected and are deterred from desertion by the fear of falling into our hands. In view of this fact, a wise policy dictates that such as fall into our hands either as deserters or prisoners, even with arms in their upon your subordinate officers, especially upon those commanding outposts. All negroes coming into your possession will be sent to these headquarters as directed in paragraph 3.
Eighth. In consequence of the exorbitant demands of steam-boats for services rendered to Government, and the absence of any fixed schedule of prices, all such accounts will be forwarded by your quartermaster for adjustment and settlement to Captain james McClockey at these headquarters. If your quartermaster will make a report concerning the subject of water transportation, and it is deemed desirable, Captain McClockey will be sent over to purchase a boat for the exclusive use of the Government.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHAS. LE D ELGEE,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST LOUISIANA,
Alexandria, February 8, 1864.
Major General J. B. MAGRUDER,
Commanding District of Texas, &c.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 31st ultimo, and have delayed my answer until I could gather certain and reliable information on the matters of which you make inquiry. I have heard nothing relative to the construction of any iron-clad steamers at Saint Louis. In the lower Mississippi the only iron-clads are the Choctaw, Osage, and perhaps three others. They confine themselves principally to guarding the mouth of Red River and its vicinity, occasionally moving between Natchez and Baton Rouge. From the construction of these vessels I am satisfied they were never intended for service out of the Mississippi River and cannot be made available on the coast of Texas.
I received last night a communication from New Orleans, from a party whose previous information given to me of movements which were contemplated by the enemy having been verified by fact, en-