War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0027 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

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attempted a coup de main upon his communications. The enterprise succeeded, but did not produce the important results anticipated, Grant having previously acquired a base of supply upon the Yazoo River. General Taylor now moved into the La Fourche country, where he operated successfully in interrupting the navigation of the Mississippi River between Port Hudson and New Orleans. His position became perilous after the fall of Port Hudson, and he recrossed Berwick Bay. General Holmes report that it was practicable for him to take Helena, and permission was given for him to attempt it. The position was unsuccessfully assailed on the 4th of July. The enemy subsequently advanced. General Price abandoned Little Rock, and our forces fell back to Camden.

In the fall of 1863 the enemy made two attempts upon Texas. In the first, he landed at the mouth of the Sabine, where, by the gallantry of a single company occupying a small fort, he was beaten, two of his gunboats captured, and his design frustrated. He then concentrated a column at Berwick Bay, in the season of low water, intending to proceed along the coast, drawing his supplies from its numerous inlets. I met this by placing Magruder's small force at the Sabine, holding Taylor on his flank. The latter, by avoiding a general engagement, while he harassed and menaced his communications, caused him to retire; when, by a brilliant rear guard action, General Green punished him severely. Banks then commenced his series of grand maneuvers upon the whole length of the coast of Texas. General Green's division was transported to Galveston and the mouth of the Brazos, to meet a powerful force landed on Matagorda Peninsula. Throughout the winter, General Magruder was occupied in foiling the designs of the enemy, who numerically was greatly his superior. This brings me to the point of time when the spring campaign opened, and I beg you to remark the position of the opposing forces. My lines extended from the Indian Territory, through Arkansas, to the Mississippi, and down to the mouth of Red River; thence, by the Atchafalaya, to Berwick Bay, and from thence, by the coast, to the Colorado. A small body of troops was engaged in observing the enemy at Brownsville. My forces were massed in three principal bodies, to wit: Under Magruder, opposite Banks, on Matagorda Peninsula; under Price, confronting Steele; under Taylor, holding the Lower Red River. The immense transportation of the enemy admitted of his taking the initiative with his entire force, at any moment, against any portion of my extended lines, while my limited transportation, and the wide distances which separated my commands, made it impossible to effect rapid concentration, or assume the offensive. My only alternative was to wait the development of the enemy's plans, to retire before him until I effected my concentrations, and to endeavor to maneuver to throw the principal mass, if not my whole force, against one o his columns. As I wrote you in the fall of 1863, I was satisfied that the line of Red River would be the line of his principal attack, because, as I then said, the water arose so as to admit his powerful naval armament, in conjunction with the advance of his infantry column. In accordance with this view, I had established, last fall, subsistence and forage depots along the roads through the barren country between Texas and Red River, and between Camden and Natchitoches. I omitted to state that I had been obliged to keep a force in the Indian Territory to hold in check several thousand men under Thayer, at Fort Smith, and to cross Northern Texas, filled with disloyal people. The water in the beginning of February being in a state to admit gunboats into Red River, General Banks suddenly transferred his force to New