occupy Opelousas, and my advance is about 30 miles in front of this place, on the road to Alexandria.
The forces of the enemy are divided, a portion of [H. H.] Sibley's cavalry being on the Plaquemine Bayou, on the road to Texas, with General [Alfred] Mouton and the artillery and some cavalry on the road to Alexandria. The infantry is completely dispersed. We have captured 2,000 prisoners, 1,000 stand of arms, ammunition, ordnance stores,&c., 20 heavy guns, demolished his foundries at Franklin and New Iberia, and the salt-works below Iberia. We have captured two steamers and several boats, and compelled the destruction of ten or twelve transport steamers, some of them laden with flour, ammunition, and arms.
The gunboats Diana, Hart, and Queen of the WEST have been destroyed, and their armament captured by our forces. We have among our prisoners the most important officers of all arms-Captain [E. W.] Fuller, the commander of their fleet, captured from the Queen of the West, known here as the "King of the Swamp," long in the Legislature and at the head of the filibuster element of the State, whose candidate he was for the officer of Governor. We have also Captain [O. J.] Semmes, the first officer of the artillery, and Colonel [W. G.] Vincent, the chief of their cavalry. They can make no stand this side of Alexandria.
The capture of the fortifications at Butte-a-la-Rose by the army and navy, which occurred on the morning of April 20, open to us completely the Atchafalaya to the Red River. Several days since I addressed to the admiral an inquiry whether he could navigate the Red River to Alexandria, and to yourself a request to communicate the time when you co-operative force could reach Red River. Our communication with the admiral is open only on Thursdays, when he comes down to Port Hudson. It will be communicated to him, as I am informed, by dispatches from General August to-day. It must be some time before it reaches you.
I was disappointed in learning from the perusal of your dispatches that at their date it was undetermined whether you can send a force to the Red River or not, on account of the deficiency of your transportation. It is a grief on my part that I cannot aid you in this respect. Our transportation is lamentably deficient. I had but one steamer with which to pass two DIVISIONS of my corps over Berwick Bay in this campaign. The route is open, but I can reach Red River only by forced marches. It is six day's march to Alexandria, and four or five to Simsport, at the mouth of the Atchafalaya, but until we can hear from you I shall make Washington, on the Courtableau, my base of operations.
We can co-operate with you in any manner you suggest, by a junction on the Red River or by an attack from Baton Rouge, joining your forces on the Bayou Sara, in the rear of Port Hudson. My belief is that this is the best method, as the passage of the Mississippi from the Red River is very difficult with our short transportation, and will require a landing, and places us between the armies of Vicksburg and Port Hudson; but we shall not hesitate. I wait anxiously to hear from you upon these points, viz:
1. When can you be at the mouth of the Black or Red River?
2. In what manner shall my forces co-operate with you?
3. Can you furnish transportation for your passage to Port Hudson, or do you rely upon us?
4. Can you supply your troops, or will you rely upon us?
5. Is it not practicable for your force to join us by the Atchafalaya?