that he is able to furnish us I regard the fall of Port Hudson as certain. The difficulty is to ascertain how and when it can be sent to us. Now that we have achieved the freedom of the Atchafalaya my belief is that he should join his forces to us by that river, crossing the Grand River and the Plaquemine to Baton Rouge. This is the most feasible point of junction of our forces, and can be accomplished with the least danger and in the least time.
The enemy, counting upon the misfortunes which had happened to our little Navy, had completed his plans for an assault on Brashear City. They were kept in entire ignorance of our purposes, and were not aware of our movement until we stood before their fortifications at Camp Bisland. Their surprise and their rout has been complete, and leaves us leisure for other operations. The Navy has done everything that we could desire, and is worthy of its distinguished leader.
I beg you will forward the communication to General Grant* as speedily as possible, and communicate the substance of his answer by telegraph. My dispatch is substantially the same as this addressed to you. I am very anxious to hear his conclusions and to know how soon we may effect a co-operation. I regard the passage of the batteries by the Hartford and Albatross and the fights you have had with the enemy at Grand Gulf and elsewhere on the river as among the most brilliant operations of the war and effecting most important results in the future affairs of this part of the country. I hope you are in health, as I am sure you must be in spirit. We have no news from the North of importance, except that the expedition to Charleston has failed and that the land and naval forces have returned to Port Royal. The spirit of the people is cheerful and confident and opinion more united than it has been.
The Government is firm in its purposes, and will, I believe, soon bring the war to an end.
I am, very truly, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NEW MEXICO,
Albuquerque, N. Mex., April 23, 1863.
Mr. REUBEN W. CREEL, Chihuahua, Mex.:
MY DEAR SIR: Your letter of the 31st ultimo, directed to the commanding officer at Mesilla, reached me last evening at this point, where I had just come from the country of the Navajoes. I am greatly indebted to you for the valuable information which is received from you.
I cannot believe any large force from Texas is en route to invade New Mexico and Arizona at this season of the year. That Skillman may attempt a raid upon El Paso and Franklin is possible, so I pray you will procure through an eye-witness information as to Skillman's present whereabouts, his exact strength, how his men are armed, how mounted, what means of transportation they have, and what quantity of provisions; to get information as to whether he is followed or is likely to be followed by any considerable force; if so, by what description of force, whether cavalry, infantry, and the strength of each arm; the means of transportation; whether the wagons are drawn by oxen or mules, &c. If Skillman remains in Presidio, what appears to
*See Inclosure No. 4. to Banks' report of April 23, p. 303.