Christi, which post I then commanded, to the commanding officer of the Federal forces at Arkansas Pass, by the hands of Acting Master Arthur Neal, C. S. Navy. The Belle Italia, in charge of said A. Neal, with 2 seamen, Richard Freeman and William Wilson, soldiers in the C. S. Army, detailed as extra-duty men, proceeded to a point or near a place known as Mercer's Landing, on Mustang Island, and came to anchor, the flag of truce flying at her mast-head. The bearer of the dispatches landed and walked across to the Federal camp on the same island. In the mean time a heavy norther sprang up, the Belle Italia was driven ashore on Mustang Island, and when the wind and tide receded the sailors could not get her off.
The bearer of the flag of truce returned from the Federal encampment with a communication to me from Major-General Banks, found the boat high and dry aground, and was compelled to come to Corpus Christi in a small boat, and related to me the statement of how she was blown ashore. He left the 2 sailors before mentioned with the boat, with instructions to get her off as soon as returning tides would permit. These me, in obedience to instructions, remained, and when their little supply of provisions was exhausted (little being taken, as they expected to return next day), they were compelled to go to the Federal camp for something to eat, having no way of getting to Corpus Christi, being separated from it 12 or 15 miles by water. I have since learned that the Belle Italia was subsequently gotten off by the Federals, and the 2 sailors, Freeman and Wilson, taken, as prisoners and sent to New Orleans, or, perhaps, still held by them on the coast. These, sir, are the facts in the case, and if the matter were referred to General Banks, who will remember the circumstance, he would at once order the release of the men and the return of the boat to the Confederate authorities, for it is too clear a case of absolute and unqualified injustice to detain boat and men captured under a flag of truce. Earnestly asking that the attention of the major-general commanding be called to the case, and that he will cause it to be laid before the Federal authorities.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. M. HOBBY,
Colonel, Commanding Eighth Regiment, T. V. I.
Respectfully forwarded for the information and action of the major general commanding.
A. T. RAINEY,
Colonel, Commanding Galveston Island.
HEADQUARTERS, Demopolis, March 21, 1864.
His Excellency President DAVIS,
I received some weeks ago the suggestions sent me by you in regard to an attempt on New Orleans by Colonel Reid, of Arkansas. As you may suppose, the possession of that city is regarded by me as of peculiar interest, and that plans for its recovery as well as the recovery of the Mississippi and its border have occupied much of my thoughts. Of all projects for that purpose which are entitled to respect those which look to getting possession of the river as a means