four field pieces but no horses, and the men are also armed and equipped as infantry. Clothing, arms, and equipments, good; discipline and instruction, indifferent. Officers not good and reported intemperate. The fort is sufficient and can be readily defended by the force which is here, but there is not sufficient to justify the setting aside of any for a reserve force. The officer doing duty here as post quartermaster and commissary is a new beginner, and, although he has been at work for two months, he has as yet not rendered any accounts. He has no clerk or white man to assist him. The commander of the post, Colonel Wood, is a good and efficient officer, and has not permitted supplies to pass his lines as freely as at other posts on the river. During the last three months $23,079.69 are reported to have passed. I have ordered the lines to be entirely closed, as will be seen by the copy* of the letter of instructions to Colonel Wood, herewith inclosed.
The Mississippi Marine Brigade was lying about two miles above Milliken's Bend, and was inspected on the afternoon of August 7. This is an organization gotten up under the special orders of the Secretary of War for peculiar services, and I make no suggestions of changes or recommendations for it. It is now far below its original number, and its means of transportation are proportionately too great. The boats, however, are used in the District of Vicksburg for the transportation of other troops. Indeed, the Marine Brigade is now so insufficient in number when all together that it is not sufficient of itself to compose any important expedition. The aggregate effective force capable of being thrown ashore now is 613, composed of ten companies of mounted infantry and four companies of cavalry. There is, besides, a company of artillery, but they have neither guns, arms, nor horses, those which they formerly had having been taken by Major-General McPherson for a battery when his army moved into the field. Brigadier-General Ellet, with a staff of eleven officers, commands this force. Its fleet consists of six large steam transports and three tow-boats, three small steam tugs, two small rams, and six barges for cavalry, one of which latter is unserviceable. These will carry with ease for a short trip 5,000 men, 2,000 horses, 130 wagons, and 1, 9000 tons of freight. They will carry when the troops are quartered on board as at present, 1,800 men, 1,042 horses, twenty wagons, and 650 tons of freight. I herewith submit a list* of the boats, and would suggest that if wanted elsewhere two transports, two barges, one tow-boat, and one tug could easily be spared by General Ellet and still leave him ample means to move his own command and the reserve force of Vicksburg, if suddenly required for a short trip. Still, the boats, if not indispensable elsewhere, are as well preserved and cared for in his hands as they would be anywhere. As a means of transportation they are always available where they are. The coasts of this force are great, the largest transports costing about $100,000 each per year. The quartermaster and commissary of the force were examined, and their departments found to be in good condition.
The troops inspected were as follows: First Regiment Mounted Infantry-Inspected August 7, at 4 p. m. Aggregate effective, 543, with 289 serviceable and 54 unserviceable horses. The horses are unusually good. Considering the irregular service the regiment has been engaged in it was in a good condition as to arms, equipments, and accounterments. Discipline and sanitary condition good. First Battalion Cavalry-Inspector at 5.30 p. m. August 7. Aggregate effective,