The condition of this city is a favorable as I could wish and the mass of the people far less hostile to the restoration of the Government than I have known in Baltimore or Virginia. All reports to the contrary are from interested parties.
I have the honor to be, with much respect, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, January 24, 1863.
[By telegraph from Southwest Pass.]
Rear-Admiral D. G. FARRAGUT:
SIR: Last evening about one-half hour before sunset a long, rakish, bark-rigged steamer, with top-gallant masts struck, passed slowly by the mouth of the river. When off the South Point she steamed off rapidly southeast. During the time of her passing the pilot-boat had a signal in her main rigging, where I have never seen her set it before. As the bar is improving I cannot but think a dash is intended as soon as there is a fleet here to warrant it. I am in a poor condition to protect even my own vessel. The Katahdin is here and will leave this morning.
Commanding U. S. S. Pampero.
Baton Rouge, La., January 27, 1863.
LieutenantCol. RICHARD B. IRWIN,
A. A. G., U. S. Vols., Hdqrs. Dept. of the Gulf, New Orleans, La.:
COLONEL: Since my telegram of yesterday I have conversed with a reliable gentleman, perfectly familiar with the country on the western bank of the river and tolerably so with the movements of the enemy's troops there. He says it is impossible to operate with a command between the Grosse Tete and the Mississippi, except in the vicinity of Plaquemine and between there and Indian Village, except by small bodies of men who know all the lanes and by-paths, and that any advance of the enemy from Rosedale, where Sibley's command is said to be, must be done by the water-courses. This gentleman knows that the command at Rosedale has recently been increased by 400 men from Alexandria, on Red River, and that more were expected, and his impression is, from what he has heard, that they are expecting to go to the La Fourche country. He thinks that they are concentrating at Indian Village. As this point is but 8 miles from Plaquemine I would suppose that point more likely to be attacked than Donaldsonville, particularly as the small number of the command there rather invites it and one of the gunboats has been removed to Donaldsonville.
I also learn that the railroad from West Baton Rouge to Rosedale has been repaired from Rosedale this way to within 7 or 8 miles of the river, with a view simply, it is supposed, of facilitating individual intercourse with the river and sources of information.
Information from a reliable source satisfies us that Hindman has been badly beaten in Arkansas, losing about 4,000 men.