not abandoned. Colonel Paine's regiment, of Emory's division, made a reconnaissance upon the Grosse Tete, west of the Mississippi, in the direction and near to Rosedale, the position lately occupied by Sibley's troops. The enemy regarded the movement of so much importance as to send 2,400 men across the river from Port Hudson to intercept them. In this they failed. We lost but 1 man and 2 prisoners upon the expedition.
Rumors are rife in the highest secession circles here of a possible attack upon the gunboats at Baton Rouge. This came to my knowledge some days since, but it is now revered. It is also reported, as not importable, that a concentration of a large pat of the troops now at Port Hudson may be made at Alexandria with those of Generals Taylor and Mouton, and such as may be brought from Texas, with a view to an attack on New Orleans, in the event of the city being left with a small force for its defense. This is probably suggested by our movements in the direction of Red River, and is not entitled to much consideration. It is, however, certain that both these projects are talked over earnestly in the circles of Confederate sympathizers.
Many of the troops are suffering from sickness, but on the whole are in good condition and spirits. The city is perfectly quiet, and the great mass of the people would acquiesce with satisfaction in the restoration of the Government. The possible return of the rebels to power is the only restraint upon the open manifestation of this sentiment. Both within and and beyond our liens this feeling is exhibited. Beyond our lines thee is the greatest scarcity of provisions. Everything is consumed by the army. I have endeavored to prevent supplies of any character being furnished to them, and have met with general success in this respect. The plans of the Government being once established, the people of the Southwest will make no resistance to its policy, in my belief. General Grover telegraph that the gun factory at Clinton was destroyed by fire some days since.
I have the honor to be, with much respect, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, La., February 28, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to transmit herewith three communications, relating to military operations in this department, received subsequent to the date of my dispatches by the Columbia, viz:
(A.) Statement of the examination of the prisoner Benjamin Doubliex, who came within our line at Indian Village.
(B.) Statement of the examination of the prisoner Benito Montfort, sent within General Weitzel's lines under a flag of truce from the enemy.
(C.) General Grover's dispatch (No. 9), dated the 26th instant, and received to-day.
I refer especially to the encouraging dispatch of General Grover as confirming my own views of the correctness of the operations we are about to undertake.
My dispatch by the Columbia will have informed you of the embarrassing loss of the gunboat Kinsman, equal in effect to the destruction
70 R R-VOL XV