“I will endeavor to accommodate the number of officers and men to your wants.”

Feb 8 1863.  Since all of the squadrons of the river fleet are new, we have had to man them with soldiers from the Army.  This policy is unpopular with the men, as they see it as a form of punishment.  I received the following letters from Rear Admiral Porter,

FEBRUARY 8, 1863. GENERAL: There were 250 men sent over yesterday; we will only want 350 more altogether. Can you so arrange it that we can only have that number, with but 3 officers? We have now 5 officers more with these men than we want, or can accommodate, which is the trouble. The major and adjutant brought their horses, which I am afraid they will have to part with if they stay with us. Hoping you will be able to make arrangements that will suit the occasion, I remain, respectfully, yours,

DAVID D. PORTER, Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.

Also,

Company C mutinied this morning and refused duty. I put them all in irons and sent them to you, as I could not order a legal court on them. The example was salutary; the rest acquiesced immediately. I would recommend that the noncommissioned officers be broken, and. that the others be set to digging ditches. I am sorry to have commenced so roughly, but a bad beginning makes a good ending. I would not hesitate to keep the men I have sent you did I not think that they will feel the punishment of being dismissed the fleet when they see their comrades again and hear how comfortable they are. They are pretty drunk now and insensible to reason, and I thought the shortest way was to put them out of sight. Some one gave them a half barrel of whiskey amongst their rations, with which they tilled their canteens and regaled the crew of the Benton, who are somewhat in a like condition, but more tractable. I am, very respectfully,

DAVID D. PORTER, Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.

 

I replied,

Admiral Porter,

Comd.g Miss. Squadron,

Admiral,

The Major and Adjutant of the regiment sent to serve on the gunboats will be relieved from that duty and can make Hd. Qrs. of their regiment at Memphis or Cairo where they will stay.

I find that some of the officers of that regiment are laboring under the mistaken idea that they were selected for that particular duty as a punishment.  I would be pleased to have their minds set at rest on this point.  They were selected solely because of the necessity existing that you should have more men, and of the reduced numbers of their regiment.

One of the regiments selected for that same service has been with me for nearly eighteen months, and has always proven itself one of the very best I had and of course no indignity would be offered them.  Any troops I have can well afford to sail in the same boat with this regiment.

I will endeavor to accommodate the number of officers and men to your wants.

Respectfully Yours,

U.S. Grant

Maj. Gen. Com

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 7, p 299

O.R. (Navy), I, xxiv, p 325

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