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Battles & Leaders of the Civil War

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THE RED RIVER CAMPAIGN.
BY RICHARD B. IRWIN, LIEUTENANT-COLONEL, U. S. V., ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF.

A. J. SMITH'S AND PORTER'S EXPEDITION STARTING FOR THE RED RIVER.

AFTER the fall of Port Hudson on the 8th of July, 1863, the forces of the Department of the Gulf, instead of going at once against Mobile as urged by General Grant, General Banks, (1) and Admiral Farragut, and thus lending an effective support to the main operations about Chattanooga at a critical period, were occupied in attempting to carry out the orders of the Government to restore the flag in Texas. General Banks was informed by General Halleck that the Government fully appreciated the importance of the proposed operations against Mobile, (2) but there were important reasons, reasons other than military, why the Texas movement should be made first and with the least possible delay, by sea: or land. A combined naval and military operation by the Red River was indicated as the best mode of carrying out the object; the selection of the route was, however, left to General Banks, but as to the movement itself he was distinctly told there was no choice and that the views of the Government must be carried out. (3) The first attempt to carry them out led to the unfortunate expedition to Sabine Pass, in September [see Vol. III., p. 598], the object of which was to gain a footing on the coast by surprise. Its summary failure put that idea out

(1) Banks to Halleck, July 23d, 30th, and August 1st, 1863. And see General Grant's article, Vol.
III., p. 679, of this work.

(2) Halleck to Banks, July 24th, August 6th, 10th, and 12th. There is some reason for thinking that the idea may have originated with President Lincoln himself : see Lincoln to Stanton, July 29th, 1863.

(3) General Halleck's own opinion of the relative value of the Mobile and Texas campaigns is indicated in his dispatch to General Banks of July 24th : " I think Texas much the most important."


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