reports some 20 miles up the Grosse Tete. He thinks the forces under Generals Sibley and Hebert number about 3,000, though it was reported to him as high as 5,000.
There was no indication of a raid in this direction. He says he found that no work had been done recently in repairing the road from Indian Village to Bayou Goula, nor was there any indications of the enemy having been on this side of Grand River or Bayou Plaquemine.
I intended to go up to Bayou Goula to-morrow and reconnoiter the country where he has been operating, but his visit to that section has rendered it useless for me to go.
I think there is danger of the couriers carrying dispatches between Manning's Landing and Baton Rouge being captured. A man came in to-day from the Galveston settlement, on the Amite River, and reports that 40 rebels crossed the Amite River and came up to the Bayou Manchac, and he thought they intended to capture our pickets. The rebel cavalry at Port Hudson come around Baton Rouge, and may make a dash in upon the telegraph line or the men carrying dispatched at any time. Would it not be well to have a company of men stationed at some point between here and Baton Rouge?
We are busy mounting the guns in the fortifications. Shall have them mounted by Saturday. The force of wagons which have been at work on the fort, with the exception of 100, will be through in a few days. They are an extra lot of men for fortification purposes, and should be kept together for that purpose.
R. E. HOLCOMB,
Commanding U. S. Forces, Donaldsonville, La.
Col. RICHARD B. IRWIN,
Asst. Adjt. General, Dept.of the Gulf, New Orleans, La.
FEBRUARY 12-28, 1863.-Operations on Bayou Plaquemine and the Atchafalaya River, La.
Reports of Major GeneralNathaniel P. Banks, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Gulf.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, La., February 12, 1863.
GENERAL: Upon the inclosed map* I have marked the military operations upon which the forces under my command are engaged. The chief movement is by the Bayou Plaquemine and the Atchafalaya to the Red River and the Mississippi. The principal, apart from the natural, difficulties of navigation, which are considerable, and the partisan rangers or guerrillas which infest the country, is a fortification at Butte-a-la-Rose, at the junction of the Atchafalaya and the Cow Bayou, near the terminus of the road from Saint Martinville. This work is of considerable strength, and is intended to defend the country above, including the capital of the State and the Red River, from incursions by the Teche Bayou [river], the Grand Lake, or the Atchafalaya. This post reduced, the way to the Red River is believed to be substantially clear.
This enterprise is intrusted to General Emory, who has already com-