divided among the three) on October 27. My impression is that they have gone north. Bragg is undoubtedly badly beaten and is in full retreat. There has been no battle since the 9th (at Perryville) up to the 16th. Nothing new on the Potomac. I inclose you some of the latest newspapers with this dispatch.
In regard to disarming the people, every disloyal person must be disarmed; and I do not mean by loyalty lip service. Besides, we must leave force enough to take care of any rising of the negroes. I think you had better see the most intelligent of the negroes in person, and assure them that all acts of Congress and laws in their favor will be carried out to them with the same effect if they remain on the plantations and work as if they came into camp, and caution them that there must be no violence to unarmed and quiet persons.
You had better send back a train of extra artillery and cavalry horses and mule wagons to Algiers, on a march, without waiting for the railroad. A small guard will be sufficient. They will probably have to strike the river road at Bonnet Carre; but of that your knowledge of the topography of the country will give you the best direction. I need not assure you that I am taking every means to open railroad and telegraphic communication.
Captain Kensel, who is present as this dispatch is written, is only waiting transportation to forward the ammunition.
I think the gunboats had better press up to Franklin and capture or destroy some boats that are building there. Of that you can tell better when you go forward.
I wish to disengage McMillan's regiment as early as it can be dispensed with, if at all, to hold Galveston.
It is under advisement to build a fort at Donaldsonville, at the junction of the bayou and the river. We have 32-pounders here with which we can arm it. That will make a station easily held on the coast half way between here and Baton Rouge. I think a work about on the plan of Fort Macomb, with casemates only, to flank the draw bridge, would be the better plan. Please advise me on the subject.
We hear flaming reports of salt-works at New Iberia. If practicable, will it not be better to reach them and destroy them? But that I leave entirely to your discretion.
That portion of Louisiana lying west of the Mississippi River will be constituted a military district, under your command, to be called the District of the Teche, headquarters wherever you may be.
Colonel Thomas writes me that the cars will pass to La Fourche to-day. Report to me early what rolling stock you find at Brashear or along the road.
I think the iron howitzers at Raceland had better sent here, unless you have need of them.
Your attention is directed to the practicability of so fortifying Brashear as to hold it, with the aid of a gunboat, with a small force. Please report upon this subject. Is any fortification practicable at Thibodeaux or Terre Bonne?
Nothing else occurs to me of interest to communicate.
By order of Major-General Butler.
GEO. C. STRONG,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff.
Commanding District of the Teche.