and Augur bringing up the rear this morning. We have so far seen nothing of the enemy except small parties of cavalry, who are easily driven in. The contrabands who have been examined to-day say the enemy will make no fight outside of his works. The men move well an are in good spirits. There is very little straggling. The roads are in good condition, except where the bridges are destroyed or our of repair. I shall try to communicate with the felled by means of signals. We move on the Bayou Sara road, with detachments on the Clinton road, and will occupy to-night the general line of the cross-road to Ross' Landing.
I have ordered General Sherman to hold a brigade of his division and General Weitzel to hold his brigade in readiness to join us at a moment's notice in case of necessity, o, if it is found that the re-enforcemetns will enable us, to strike a decisive blow. The movement of the Navy will take place to-night. The admiral was delayed by the breaking down of the engines of the Winona and Essex (iron clad).
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Camp near Batton Rouge, March 15, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:
After sending my dispatch to you of yesterday's date by telegraph, through General Sherman, I received a communication from Admiral Farragut, forwarded from the signal station at Springfield Landing, informing me that the fleet, which was then anchored near Profit's Island, would move at 8 o'clock in the evening, and that he expected to have passed the batteries by midnight. I immediately directed the best disposition of our forces that circumstances would admit of, in view of the fact that the position had not been reconnoitered, and that the hasty reconnaissances, which were immediately pushed out on all the roads, showed that our maps were in many important respects very unreliable. Of the enemy's position we had not the information necessary to enable us to approach it with confidence, and had no time to obtain such information.
Grover's division was placed in position in front of the Ross Landing cross-road, his left upon Bayou Baton Rouge, with detachments on the Clinton road and the cross-roads on the right; Paine's brigade, of Emory's division, and two batteries of the same division, and two batteries of the same division on Grover's left, across the bayou; the remainder of Emory's division near Alexander's; Augur's division at Vallandingham's.
Our cavalry was pushed forward to the forks of the Nettles and Ross Landing roads, and to the fork of the Bayou Sara road, near the opening of what is marked on the map as "Open Plains," and succeeded in gaining and holding these points. I was very anxious to get our artillery before nightfall i an favorable position to keep up a fire during the night, with a view of drawing off a portion of the enemy's attention from the fleet. A small bridge on the Ross Landing road was found broken down, so as to be impassable for artillery, and could not be repaired in time to enable me to carry out this object, and even had it been otherwise, our uncertainty as to the precise position of the enemy would have rendered this fire of but little effect. We heard nothing