One hundred and fourteenth New York, Twenty-third Connecticut, and Sixth Michigan, with two sections of Bainbridge's regular battery, were sent by rail to his assistance, thus enabling him to move against the enemy with a force which we estimate at 4,500 infantry and three batteries of light artillery. These operations have for their purpose the control of the water communications and approaches to the Red River, which will become of great importance to us as soon as we are prepared to move against Port Hudson for the reduction of that position.
We have reports from above, through rebel sources principally, that the operations against Vicksburg have been abandoned.
Major-General Augur has taken command of Baton Rouge.
To General Sherman I have confined the command of the defenses of this city. For active operations the troops are organized into four divisions, commanded respectively by Major-General Augur and Brigadier-Generals Sherman, Emory and Grover.
There have been but one or two arrivals of troops from the North recently, and those have comprised only small detachments. I had hoped that the remainder of the expedition would have joined us ere this. To be effective for offensive operations we need them all now.
I trust that at least Generals Andrews, Dwight, and Bowen may be ordered to join me without delay, and that the Second Massachusetts Cavalry, battalion of Rhode Island, squadron of New Hampshire, squadron of Maine, and battalion of Metropolitan (New York) Cavalry may be sent forward without fail and at the earliest practicable moment. This is of vital importance, as the almost total deficiency of cavalry in this department renders us almost helpless either for offensive or defensive operations.
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
Statement made by S. H. Partridge, acting master of the Hatteras:
Was on board of the steamer Hatteras, off Galveston, at about 3 p.m. Sunday, January 11, when a vessel hove in sigh southeast. We were signaled from the just before dark was able to discover that she was bark-rigged. She set a top-gallant sail. After dark we gained rapidly, and when we came near found her lying to under steam. We had been at quarters twenty minutes. As we came up Mr. Blake hailed and asked what ship it was. She answered, "Her Britannic Majesty's ship Spitfire." Captain Blake said, "I will send a boat on board." Boat being lowered, I was ordered to take charge and board. Before we were one-half boat's length away from the side the stranger opened fire. It was returned by the Hatteras, and both started ahead under a full head of steam, exchanging broadsides, as fast as they could load and fire, for about twenty minutes, with big guns, and then with musketry from both vessels. All this time I had been endeavoring to board my vessel again, but could not come up. After musketry ceased I discovered that the Hatteras was stopped and blowing off steam, with the enemy alongside for the purpose of boarding. Heard the enemy cheering and knew that the Hatteras had been captured, and though it was no use to give myself up as prisoner, and rowed back toward the fleet, under cover of darkness, in hopes of giving information of the affair. The Brooklyn went out the next day and found the Hatteras sunk.
The United States steamer Hatteras was captured and sunk on Sunday evening, about 16 miles south of Galveston, by the rebel pirate 290. Our Texas traitors are concentrating a large force on Galveston Island.
Lieutenant-Colonel First Texas.