HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, February 14, 1863.
Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication of 19th January last, inclosing copy of communication from the Secretary of State in relation to the treatment of questions growing out of claims of French subjects.
Since assuming command of this department I have accorded to the representatives of foreign governments all the consideration they could possibly claim. All matters relating to the claims of French citizens have been treated with prudence and moderation, and the relations between myself and the French agent in this city, as well as with the other representatives and agents of foreign governments, are of the friendliest nature.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION,
Camp Stevens, La., February 15, 1863.
Major General C. C. AUGUR,
GENERAL: I feel it a duty which I owe you and my country to address you at this late hour of the night on the present proposed movement on Butte-a-la-Rose and the Teche country. I of course do not know your general plans; but I judge from my instructions, and what I heard while in company with you and the other generals, that your object is to gain possession of Butte-a-al-Rose, and, if possible, capture the force on the Teche. In all honesty and candor I do not believe the present plan to be the proper one, and for the following reasons:
We have enough proof that the country in the vicinity of Butte-a-al-Rose, on the banks of the Grosse Tete and the Atchafalaya, is overflowed. We also know that the only other communication from the Atchafalaya (that is via Red River) to Port Hudson is controlled by the gunboats with have passed Vicksburg. Re-enforcements cannot therefore be sent from Port Hudson. We have ample proof that by this time the whole of Sibley's Texan brigade is somewhere in the Opelousas country, either at Opelousas, to act as a reserve to General Mouton's force, or at Alexandria, to hold the Red River. I have engaged General Mouton's force twice and have been opposed to it during three and a half months, and I think I know its exact strength, condition, and position. The main body is in rear of entrenchments on Madam Meade's plantation, 6 miles below Centreville. If we defeat these two commands we form a junction with our forces near Vicksburg. By pursuing our success to Alexandria we may capture General Mouton's force and with little loss, unless it form a junction with Sibley. If it forms a junction, we will meet them near Iberia and engage them in open field, and with a proper force can defeat them. General Emory's whole division (moved to Brashear City) and my brigade can do this work. Let the light transportation now with General Emory and all destined for and collected by me be collected at Brashear City. Let two of the brigades be moved to and landed at Indian Bend, while the