captured at this place exceeds belief. I have taken steps to secure everything, and shall transfer all surplus by the Teche to New Iberia. The enemy have fortified this bay so well that I trust a few days will make it secure to us. I push on to the La Fourche this evening.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WESTERN LOUISIANA,
Alexandria, June 27, 1863.
GENERAL: I left Brashear City late on Wednesday night (24th instant), having made all the dispositions which were practicable, and arrived here a few hours ago. The receipt of the communication from General [C. Le Doux] Elgee, volunteer aide-de-camp of my staff (a copy of which was forwarded to you), conveying the views and messages from General Johnston, induced me to hasten to this point, for the purpose of making such arrangements as are called for by the information contained in that communication.
I have also received a report from Major-General [J. G.] Walker, in which he states that the unhealthiness of the locality in which his division has been operating has produced much sickness among his troops, which is daily increasing, and the effective men of the command are greatly reduced in number. Should the fall of Vicksburg occur, as predicted by General Johnston, Port Hudson must, of course, speedily follow, and thus a junction between the troops in the Washita and Upper Mississippi Valleys and those in the La Fourche would be attended with great difficulty. It is true that the fall of those places might endanger the command in the La Fourche, but deeming it of great importance that the forces in my command should be concentrated, and believing that results of great interest can be accomplished by such concentration, I have ordered Major-General Walker's division to proceed immediately to Berwick Bay; thence I shall send it into the La Fourche country.
Before the lieutenant-general commanding called my attention to the views of the War Department, and communicated his own relative to operating upon the enemy's line of communication above Vicksburg, I had determined upon the same plan. The reasons herein stated have, of course, rendered the change of the disposition of troops necessary. I feel confident that if Vicksburg should not fall shortly, the operations of our forces on the Mississippi coast between Baton Rouge and New Orleans will relieve Port Hudson. I had hoped that the communication from General Johnston, through General Elgee, would have induced the lieutenant-general commanding to visit this point, as a personal interview would be of great importance. I shall leave on to-morrow for Berwick Bay.
The property captured is much greater in quantity and value than I at first reported. Over 5,000 new Enfield and Burnside rifles were taken, with a very large supply of ammunition therefor. Several 30-pounder Parrott guns, on siege carriages, were captured among the heavy pieces. The supply of ammunition for field pieces which was captured is not large, and I would respectfully inform you that a much larger supply is needed than is now on hand. The value of commissary and quartermaster's stores (including shoes and clothing) exceeds in