War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0272 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,

New Orleans, October 16, 1863.

THOMAS M. VINCENT,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, making inquiries concerning the consolidation of the Rhode Island with the New York Cavalry, and asking my authority for the order.

I had no authority for this act whatever, except such as the necessity of my situation gave me. The Rhode Island cavalry was enlisted from New York chiefly, and had very good officers and some good men; but the organization was mostly composed of men entirely beyond control. Their depredations and robberies were frightful. One or two men on the march to Alexandria were shot for offenses of this character. They were wholly worthless as soldiers. When we reached Port Hudson, and they were deprived of the power of depredation by the circumscribed limits occupied, they gave us still greater trouble by the erroneous reports made in regard to the movements of the enemy. Our camp was continually in a disturbed and disordered condition from the false representations made by these men. We submitted to it as long as it could be endured, and changed it only when the safety of my command required it. The officers of the regiment, who are Rhode Island men, acknowledged their inability to control their men, and resigned their commissions on that account. Some correspondence had taken place with the Governor of Rhode Island in regard to their consolidation, which had been talked of long before, but it was not effected until it was represented by the officers from Rhode Island that it would not be objected to by the Governor of that State. Upon the resignation of the officers, with this representation, and under the exigency which I have described, the remnant of the regiment, consisting of only 110 or 200 men, was consolidated with a New York regiment for the purpose of bringing it into some discipline and protecting us against, first, their depredations, and, secondly, against the panics that their reports occasioned.

I have the honor to be, with much respect, your obedient servant,

N. P. BANKS,

Major-General, Commanding.

[Indorsement.]

WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,

October 28, 1863.

Respectfully submitted to the General-in-Chief. It is recommended that no further action be taken in this matter until a copy of General Banks' letter is forwarded to the Governor of Rhode Island.

E. D. TOWNSEND,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,

Washington, D. C., December 5, 1863.

Major-General BANKS,

Commanding Department of the Gulf, New Orleans, La.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to inform you that the action, by Special Orders, Numbers 209, current series, from your headquarters, in transferring