by which our relations with the enemy "east of the Atchafalaya and south of Morganza" are defined and established. Lieutenant Collins, commanding scouts north of Morganza, has reported to me that he has, by flag of truce, signified to the Federal authorities his acceptance of Captain Ratliff's treaty. I also inclose a copy of a communication on the same subject, dated 29th March, from Lieutenant Collins to Captain Pickens. This treaty between Captain Ratliff was not communicated to me by that officer, and I am indebted for all the information I have relative to what is occurring between the "U. S. forces and the C. S. forces east of the Atchafalaya" to the kind consideration of Lieutenant Collins. I forbear to make any comments upon the action of the contracting party representing the C. S. military forces east of the Atchafalaya, as he reports directly to the lieutenant-general commanding, and probably has his authorization for his proceedings. I have the honor to report the arrival at my headquarters of twenty-three mules captured by Captain Whitaker, Seventh Louisiana Cavalry, within the picket-line of the enemy and within three miles of the forts of Donaldsonville, on the Mississippi River. Captain Whitaker was discovered while taking these animals and was fired on, but, mounting his men on the mules, taking to the swamps, and swimming numerous bayous, escaped pursuit, and reaching his boats, he embarked his mules on a large flat. Just before daybreak he discovered a Federal gun-boat directly on his course, and only a few miles distant, evidently cruising for him. He immediately approached a small island, disembarked his mules and men, and covered his boats with brush. Disguised thus his boats escaped the observation of the gun-boat, which, after cruising about for four or five hours, then bore away, when he safely reached Mossy's Shell Bank. The perseverance and energy exhibited by Captain Whitaker and his men in this expedition, in which they carried a heavy flat and boats over 100 miles, are highly meritorious.
I am, major, yours, respectfully,
J. L. BRENT,
(Same to Captain J. G. Clarke.)
HEADQUARTERS BRENT'S CAVALRY BRIGADE,
Lodi Plantation, April 2, 1865.
Captain J. G. CLARKE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Forces Front Lines:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to inform the brigadier-general commanding the front lines that Lieutenant Scarborough, who has relieved Captain Pickens on the Atchafalaya, reports as follows:
Upon examination I find that cotton can be carried out at almost any point from Marksville to Morgan's Ferry. The whole swamp is inundated, and the numerous little bayous and sloughs passing through the swamps afford facilities for carrying it out. With my present force I cannot effectually guard this country against, nor do I believe that four times my number could do it, yet I shall strain all my energies in that direction. I make these statements because I think You should know the exact situation of affairs.
It is impossible at present to increase the cavalry force for want of forage, but I respectfully suggest that the line might be much strengthened if a detachment of thirty-five infantry were given me, which could be put on the permanent posts. If You should determine on this course I respectfully request that no officer exceeding the rank of first lieutenant accompany the detachment. But I am constrained to express my belief that complete success cannot be expected in closing