U. S. FLAGSHIP NIAGARA
Ship Island, December 27, 1861.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of the proclamation of Brigadier-General Phelps. It was handed to me by Commander Melancton Smith, who received it from Brigadier-General Phelps, through Mr. Elias Smith, reporter for the New York Times, as shown by the note of Mr. Smith and Commander Smith's reply, which are also transmitted.
I have approved the course pursued by Commander Smith, and will not allow this or any similar document to be circulated by any person under my command.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. W. McKEAN,
Flag-Officer, Commanding Gulf Blockading Squadron.
Hon. GIDEON WELLES,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.