Taylor on his flank and communications. Early in October, General Banks advanced from Berwick Bay with an immense supply train, a heavy artillery force, water tanks, &c., prepared for a long campaign, conquest, and permanent occupation. General Taylor concentrated to oppose his advance. He was instructed to throw every obstacle in the enemy's way, to contest every position. he was cautioned against risking a general engagement, but, whilst acting on the defensive, was directed to assume the offensive on every favorable occasion. Entire confidence was placed in his skill and the marked ability with which on every previous occasion he had handled the troops under his command. How far this confidence was well placed in seen by the result. Every foot of ground was contested; the enemy was forced to march with his whole command in hand, and did not reach Opelousas till the 23rd November; worried, punished, held in check, his supplies were exhausted, and he was compelled to retreat, with the loss of over 2,000 killed, wounded, and prisoners.
The defenses and obstructions of the Lower Red River are being pushed with all the means at my disposal, and it is hoped they will be made so effective as to secure us the possession and navigation of the Red River this winter.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General.
SHREVEPORT, LA., August 28, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report that the general commanding the department [E. Kirby Smith] has been sick for the last ten days, with an attack of acute dysentery. Being very weak, he directs me to write you as follows:
I was very much surprised at receiving your telegram informing me that no order was on file directing the infantry of my command to cross the Mississippi River. Your telegram implies that I should have followed the enemy's troops lately operating in this department, and that I was expected to so employ my force as to prevent him at least from re-enforcing the armies of Grant and Sherman. I beg leave to submit the following resume of events which have transpired since my arrival in this department,* as also my plans for the last campaign, and the reasons why I was unable to detain longer the armies opposed to me.
Soon after I reached the department, and before I could become fully acquainted with the character and position of the troops, the operations against Vicksburg and Port Hudson absorbed all attention. Banks's first raid, in which he overpowered General Taylor at Camp Bisland, swept through the most productive portion of Louisiana, and caused the loss of our works controlling the navigation of the Red River and the Atchfalaya. This was subordinate to the investment of Port Hudson. I made the best disposition I could of my troops to aid in the relief of Vicksburg and Port Hudson. General Taylor, with Walker's division, drawn from Arkansas, and moved secretly up the Tensas, in transports, and landing a few miles from where Grant crossed the Mississippi River,
*General Smith assumed command March 7, 1863.