By the Atchafalay all difficulties of this kind are obviated. Supplies of ammunition and provisions are secured; a perfect field of operations is in our possession, and the united forces make the result we wish certain. There are insuperable difficulties to encounter on the other line from the extent of the operations and the deficiencies of transportation. They cannot be too carefully weighed nor too much consideration given to the advantages presented by the more southerly route. Let me say that all my ideas on the subject have been changed by my experience in this campaign.
Inclosed I send a map indicating the route proposed for co-operation, and also our line of march int his campaign.*
I have the honor, general, to subscribe myself, faithfully, your friend,
N. P. BANKS,
No. 12.] HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, 19TH ARMY CORP Opelousas, La., May 2, 1863.
GENERAL: I returned to this place last night from a brief visit to New Orleans upon important matters connected with our future operations. I have the honor to make the following report of the operations that have taken place since the 25th ultimo:
Colonel Paine, with his brigade and one section of artillery, was sent out on the Plaquemine Brule road, southwest from Opelousas, April 26, to disperse a considerable force of cavalry reported in that direction and intending to attack our train. The enemy was found to have left, and is reported to have crossed the Mermenton River en route for Texas.
April 27 a report was received from Colonel [S. G.] Jerrard, commanding at New Iberia, of a disturbance at Saint Martinville, caused by a few white men and a party of negroes, but which was promptly quelled.
April 28 General Dwight, with his brigade and two sections of artillery, was ordered to fall back to Washington from his position, about 25 miles in advance of that place, on the Bayou Boeuff road, where his rear was much exposed to the attacks of the numerous cavalry of the enemy. General Dwight made several partial movements with success, greatly alarming and puzzling the enemy.
April 29 information was received relative to Simmesport, on the Atchafalaya. The enemy have left that place for Alexandria. Road from here to Simmesport reported good. A reconnaissance was made by Lieutenant-Colonel Corliss, of the Rhode Island Cavalry, accompanied by Lieutenant-Colonel [W. S.] Abert, which was pushed out on the road through Chicotville to the Bayour Cocodrie, a distance upward of 50 miles. The enemy had no force on that road except a small picket, the whole of which was captured. The enemy has a considerable force of cavalry on the Bayou Boeuff road, but he has no force to offer any strong resistance to our advance to Alexandria.
The collection of cotton has been very successful, about 3,500 bales having already been collected.
Two more pieces of artillery have been raised from the wreck of a rebel boat near Leonville, making twenty-two guns in all captured from the enemy. About six hundred sabers were also recovered.
One soldier has bee not to death for plundering and pillaging, and some others are being tried for the same offense, who will doubtless
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