HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NEW MEXICO,
Santa Fe, N. Mex., May 1, 1863.
Brigadier General JOSEPH R. WEST,
Comdg. District of Arizona, Hart's Mill, Tex.:
GENERAL: While you were absent at Fort West recently some reports reached me, and from what I hear reached you as well, of an advance of rebel forces on New Mexico from the direction of Texas. It is possible these reports had some foundation. This can be determined by trusty spies. A small force you will be able to whip by falling back on Las Cruces or by bringing the garrison of that place to Hart's Mill. If you are menaced by a large force you will destroy the property of all secessionists, as indicated in my instructions to you dated November 18, 1862, and take all the troops with you to Fort Craig. Of course what is here meant by a large force is a force so considerable that you could not in all probability maintain yourself successfully against it.
It will be well for you to send by express for the companies of Bowie's troops, which are to come to the Rio Grande, to have no delay.
In case a large force comes against us the Fort West garrison will fall back on Fort Craig by Anderson's route. The Apache Pass will be held by the troops occupying it. Tucson, if menaced, will also be held by all the troops that may be there or in the neighborhood. No large rebel force, in my opinion, will go that far from the Rio Grande. As matters then become further developed, after all this is done, we shall know with more certainty what we had better do.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES H. CARLETON,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Opelousas, May 2, 1863.
Brigadier General THOMAS W. SHERMAN,
Commanding Defenses of New Orleans:
GENERAL: By direction of the commanding general I have the honor to send you the following statement of the movements which have taken place here during the period of his absence, from the evening of April 25 to last evening, when he returned to this place:
Colonel Paine, with his brigade and one section of artillery, was sent out on the Plaquemine Brule road, southwest from Opelousas, April 26, to disperse a considerable force of cavalry reported in that direction and intending to attack our train. The enemy was found to have left, and is reported to have crossed the Mermenton River en route for Texas.
April 27 a report was received from Colonel Jerrard, commanding at New Iberia, of a disturbance at Saint Martinville, caused by a few white men and a party of negroes, but which was promptly quelled.
April 28 General Dwight, with his brigade and two sections of artillery, was ordered to fall back to Washington from his position about 25 miles in advance of that place on the Bayou Boeuff road, where his rear was much exposed to the attacks of the numerous cavalry of the enemy. General Dwight made several partial movements with success, greatly alarming and puzzling the enemy.
April 29 information received relative to Simmesport, on the Atchafalaya. The enemy have left the place for Alexandria. Road from here to Simmesport reported good. A reconnaissance was made by