have to suffer the same penalty. The temptations to plunder and pillage have been so strong, and the disregard of reiterated orders forbidding it such, that severe measures we indispensable.
I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, Hdqrs. of the Army, Washington, D. C.
No. 16.]HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, 19TH ARMY CORPS, Opelousas, La., May 4, 1863.
GENERAL: On April 20 Butte-a-la-Rose was captured by the gunboats attached to the fleet in this department, orders having been sent from these headquarters to make an attack. From that date, by some unaccountable and unexplained delay, not the slightest effort was made to open the Atchafalaya or to penetrate the Courtableau to the headquarters of my corps at Opelousas. The first boat that opened the Courtableau to Washington was the Cornie, a little transport steamer that we had captured from the enemy on that bayou. But of this delay communication would early have been opened with the admiral, and my command would have continued its march.
On the 2nd instant communication was opened with Admiral Farragut at the mouth of Red River, by aid of the gunboat Arizona, Captain Upton commanding, accompanied by Captain Dunham, of my staff. Copies of my communications to the admiral are inclosed. I solicited his co-operation in the movement against Alexandria, the possession of Red River being necessary for the security of our supplies. He had been waiting anxiously for two or more boatas that had passed the batteries at Vicksburg, but up to this date they had not joined him. he feared that he would not receive assistance from that quarter. It appears that they were engaged in the cannonade upon the batteries at Grand Gulf. He said if he could be supported by the gunboats on our line he would undertake to move against Alexandria in co-operation with the Army. We have made every possible exertion; have been upon the Atchafalaya myself one or two days, to hurry forward the boats. Three of them have joined the admiral. Two others will join him at the close of the week, giving him a force sufficient for his purpose, we believe. But I still have hopes that some of Admiral Porter's boats will join him in the expedition.
He anticipates, as you will see by copies of the dispatches inclosed, that Kirby Smith, with a force of 15,000 men, will go down the Black River in transports. He will send his boats to the mouth of Red River ot intercept them should they reach him in time. It is quite possible, however, for Smith to leave the Washita at Monroe and march to Shreveport or Copenhagen or Harrisonburg on the same stream, and mach to Alexandria, avoiding thus the mouth of Black River. Could we be joined by the force from General Grant of 20,000, which he could well spare if he had transportation for them, and the boats we have had all passed the batteries at Vicksburg, we could permanently hold and control the entire territory west of the Mississippi; the ultimate and not distant evacuation of Port Hudson and Vicksburg would be certain, and the capture of the whole or a part of the force of each fortress be most probable. I still hope we may adopt the policy of concentrating our forces.