HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Alexandria, May 9, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
GENERAL: In view of movements that are certain to be made for the restoration of Louisiana to the Union, and with the most flattering prospects of success, I would respectfully suggest that permission be given to the commander of this department to allow Mr. Pierre Soulde, sr., to return to New Orleans for one month, his visit to be prolonged if thought advisable. I am confident that Mr. Soule is not a dangerous man, and I am equally sure that he can now be of great service. As no person will know from me that this suggestion is made, no inconvenience can arise from such decision as shall be deemed proper in this case.
I have the honor to be, with much respect, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NEW MEXICO,
Santa Fe, N. Mex., May 10, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I am aware every moment of your time is of value to the country, and I would not presume to ask you even to read this note did I not believe that what is herewith inclosed would be of interest to you as a general and therefore as statesman.
Among all my endeavors since my arrival here there has been an effort to brush back the Indians, as you have seen from official correspondence, so that the people could get out of the valley of the Rio Grande, and not only possess themselves of the arable lands in other parts of the Territory, but, if the country contained veins and deposits of the precious metals, that they might be found. So I re-established Fort Stanton, and at least a hundred families have done to that vicinity to open farms, and they are commencing to find gold there.
I established Fort West, and have driven the Indians away from the head of the Gila, and they are finding gold, silver, and cinnabar there. There is no doubt in my mind that one of the richest gold countries in the world is along the affluent to the Gila, which enter it from the north along its whole course. Thus you can see one reason why the rebels want, and why we may not permit them ever to have, a country evidently teeming with millions on millions of wealth.
Last winter I asked from $100,000 to make a wagon road from near Fort Craig to the Gila. My request was not listened to, and I endeavored to open the road without help. Strategically you will see its value; intrinsically, as I then anticipated, it would be beyond price. My preliminary survey has been unsuccessful, as you observe by Captain Anderson's letter, herewith inclosed. But I do not despair of success. You will also see by the inclosed notes what signs of mineral wealth are already discovered. If I only had one more good regiment of California infantry, composed, as that infantry is, of practical miners, i would place it in the Gila country. While it would extermine the Indians, who are a scourge to New Mexico, it would protect people who might wish to go there to open up the country, and would virtually be a military