as a naval post. I have done what I could to mount the guns, and hope it may be safe. There is one colored regiment stationed there.
The Confederate Government seems to have changed its policy in regard to cotton, and is now willing to have it shipped to this port. Permits are said to have been given by General Pemberton to ship cotton on the Mississippi. Such statements are made to me by those interested in the shipment. If so, it is because the cotton has been sold to foreigners for gold, and they take this method to get it out. Believing this to be the object, I have given no encouragement to them and have declined to receive cotton under any special conditions as to its disposition when within our lines. I have as far fast possible stopped supplies beyond our lines, whether for loyal or disloyal people. I am entirely satisfied that this is wise. Trade in the city is daily improving, and the people are quiet and apparently cheerful. One week, with the navigation of the river secured, would make an entire revolution in this State. I trust confidently that this may be accomplished.
I have the honor to be, with much respect, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
Commander-in-Chief U. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, La., February 16, 1863.
SIR: Since my dispatch of the 12th instant, sent by the Cromwell, the general plan of operations therein indicated has been followed out, slowly indeed, but with as much rapidity as the natural obstacles have permitted.
The First and Second Brigades of Emory's division, under the command of that officer, with Duryea's regular battery, are concentrated at Indian Village, on the Bayou Plaquemine. Weitzel is ready to move in conjunction.
A reconnaissance, made from Berwick Bay by the gunboat Diana, develops the fact that all the routes from Indian Village to Lake Chicot are blocked by drift for a distance of 5 miles. The gunboats could not pass the first accumulation. Grand River is reported choked.
I have just sent for General Emory to return here for a full conference on this aspect of affairs, and hope by the time he arrives to have more definite and more favorable news from the Diana. General Emory is of opinion that there may be another route free from drift, and will endeavor to discover it. I am hopeful that this will turn out to be the case.
There was a rumor last week among the local secessionists that the enemy were preparing to evacuate Port Hudson, but General Grover, who commands the forces at Baton Rouge, informs me that he has nothing to indicate such an intention. I have suggested to him the expediency of reconnoitering their position in considerable force to develop their intentions, and am confident that he will be watchful, vigilant, and prepared to seize any advantage the enemy's movements may offer.
If the attempt to cut the enemy's communications and sources of supply with the west succeeds-as I believe it will, unless the natural difficulties named turn out to be insurmountable-we shall move from Baton Rouge on his rear at Port Hudson, and, cutting his communica-