War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 1118 W. FLA.,S. ALA. S. MISS. LA. TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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or no artillery. Arkadelphia is on the Washita River, at the head of navigation. From there to Camden, on the Washita, is 50 miles, where he will find plenty of water, and four or five transport steamers, by which he could take his command form Camden to Monroe, la., and mach across to Alexandria,or he could continue down the Washita to Black and Red Rivers. In this, however, he will be anticipated by Grant. There are reports in secession circles in this city that Smith is on the Washita, intending to join General Taylor. There is always a plenty of water in this river to Camden, up to the middle of June. This information is derived from a Southern man, who was at New Iberia two weeks since. The products of the country, and supplies for the army, which delonged legitimately to the Government, obtained by this expedition, may amount to from $2,000,000 to $5,000,000. Not less than 20,000 beeves, mules, and horses will be obtain if we occupy this country a sufficient time to gather them in. Indefinite quantities of lumber of the best quality, suitable for all Government purposes, we have found on the water of the country we occupy. I have directed the opening of the Plaquemine Bayou and the Grand River, which have been closed by drift-wood for nearly two years. This will be accomplished within two weeks, and will open an immediate and safe communication with the Atchafalaya, between the Mississippi and the Red River, and also by the Tensas and Black Rivers to the Mississippi above Vicksburg. I think I may say that this communication is permanently open, and that it is impossible for any one to conceive the full advantage of this great water communication to the purposes of the army and the government. I am surprised to find, upon examination, the amount of material which exists in this department for the construction of rive steamers. Turning my attention to this subject within the last two months, I have found that there are here at least twenty engines in good condition, and which can easily be adapted to steamboat navigation. The opening of the Teche country gives all the lumber requisite for the construction of a great number of vessels. We have mechanics both in the army and out of the army, whose employe meant will be beneficial to the government in ship-building. Until now I have not had funds which could be applied to a purposed of this kind without entrenching upon the appropriations of Congress for the support of the war. It gives me pleasure now to say that I can within thee months construct and equip twenty steamers, at comparatively trifling expense, for light water navigation,a portion of which will be suitable for war as well s transport duty. I beg to say to you that the expense of this work will be merely nominal, and that these vessels are needed beyond any representations that I can possibly make. Had I this transportation open when entering upon duty in this department, the delay which has been experienced in army movements would have been avoided altogether; but I knew nothing of the existence of the martial, and found nothing necessary for the movements until up to this date. I beg to call the earnest attention of the Government to this subject, and ask permission to construct from the funds in my possession as many of these vessels as may be needed by the Government. I cannot urge too strongly this subject upon your important attention.

My official report of the campaign just closed will be made to you immediately upon my return to Opelousas.

I have the honor to be,with respect, your obedient servant,

N. P. BANKS,

Major-General, Commanding.