in consequence of our movement against have works at Sabine Pass, the occupation of the Rio Grande, and the capture of the works constructed for the defense of Aransas Pass and Pass Cavallo, on the Texas coast. To carry the works at the mouth of Brazos River, it was necessary to move inland and to attack the enemy in the rear, in which we necessarily encountered the entire strength of the rebel forces, then greatly superior in number of ours.
Preparations were made for more extended operations on the mainland from Indianola at Matagorda Bay or on the peninsula connecting with the mainland at Brazos River, and notice given to the War Department of the plan of operations, with the request for an increase of the forces from extended operations in Texas, if it was found expedient. The troops on the Teche, under command of Major-General Franklin, would have been transferred to the coast in such force as to make certain the occupation of Houston or Galveston. From this point I intended to withdraw my troops to the Island of Galveston, which could have been held with perfect security by less than 1,000 men, which would have left me free to resume my operations, suggested in August and September, against Mobile. The Rio Grande and the Island of Galveston could have been held with 2,000 or 3,000 men. This would have cut off the contraband trade of the enemy at Matamoras and on the Texas coast. The force occupying the Island of Galveston could have been strengthened be sea at any moment from Berwick Bay, connecting with New Orleans by railway, or with New Orleans by the river, compelling the enemy to maintain an army near Houston, and preventing his concentrating his forces for the invasion of Louisiana, Arkansas, or Missouri.
The occupation of the Rio Grande, Galveston, and Mobile would have led to the capture or destruction of all the enemy's river and sea transportation on the Gulf coast, and left the west gulf blockading squadron, numbering one hundred and fifty vessels and mounting four hundred and fifty guns, free to pursue the pirates that infested our coast and preyed upon our commerce.
The army would have been at liberty to operate on the Mississippi or to co-operate with the Army of the Tennessee, by the Alabama River and Montgomery, in the campaign against Atlanta.
These general views are substantially expressed in my dispatches of the 12th and 30th December, 1863.
If successfully accomplished, it would have enabled the Government to concentrate the entire forces of the Department of the Gulf, as occasion should require, at any point on the river or coast against an enemy without water transportation or other means of operation than by heavy land marches, or to move by land into the rebel States east of west of the Mississippi. The winter months offered a favorable opportunity for such enterprise.
I remain, you obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
Major-General of Volunteers.
The SECRETARY OF WAR, Washington, D. C.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, No. 25.
New Orleans, February 19, 1864.
I. The following-named regiments and batteries of the Nineteenth Army Corps will immediately have inscribed upon their colors the