the experience that our operations are seriously crippled by want of it. If you will send me the Second Massachusetts Cavalry, raised expressly for my command, with their arms and equipments, I will mount them here from the horses captured in this expedition. Its commander, Colonel Lowell, is personally nearly as important to us as his regiment.
N. P. BANKS,
RICH'D B. IRWIN.
APRIL 19, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded to Adjutant-General of the Army.
T. W. SHERMAN,
Brigadier-General, Comdg. Defenses of New Orleans.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Cote-Gelee, Near Vermillionville, April 18, 1863.
Brigadier General THOMAS W. SHERMAN,
Commanding Defenses of New Orleans:
SIR: I wish you immediately on receipt of this dispatch quietly, but with least possible delay, to collect all the saddles and bridles in the city of New Orleans, except those in public service and those in the stores and shops, concerning which Captain Hill has orders, and forward them to these headquarters in the field. Do not allow any to remain, not even in the church. Take especial care that the men appointed to collect this material shall commit no depredations upon property and punish with the utmost severity those who do.
Our success is complete. The enemy resisted our passage of Bayou Vermillion with cavalry, infantry, and artillery, but were promptly dislodged from their position, and we now occupy the north side of the bayou, ready to resume our march.
The reconstruction of the bridge which was destroyed has been a difficult work. It is now nearly completed. We shall probably occupy Opelousas in two days.
It is possible, but not probable, that our absence from New Orleans may be longer than contemplated when we parted. In any event, however, our success has so crippled the enemy, amounting almost to the annihilation of his Army and Navy, that it is hardly possible he can contemplate an attack on New Orleans in our absence. If, however, the forces of Mobile or Port Hudson should move in that direction, you will defend all the positions to the last extremity. If by any chance the enemy should get any advantage he cannot retain it, and even success in that quarter would do us no serious harm and give him no permanent advantage. But you will use every precaution necessary in the premises. Be vigilant in getting information of his movements and prompt to attack and disperse him if he shows himself in any quarter.
Let there be no communication of the people of New Orleans with the enemy on the other side of our lines, under any circumstances, until our return. Notify General Augur to keep a close watch on the movements of the enemy at Port Hudson. No portion of their force must be allowed to depart.
Assured of your success in all things, I am, very truly, yours, &c.,
N. P. BANKS,