artillery fire from the gunboat Monongahela, the enemy surrendered. Lieutenant-Colonel
was in command, and we captured altogether 9 officers, 90 men, three heavy siege guns, a quantity of most excellent small-arms, 80 or 90 good horses, a schooner, nearly new, and considerable minor land and water transportation.
We shall move to-morrow against Pass Cavallo, the most important pass on the coast except Galveston. We shall have a sharper contest there than at Aransas, but are confident of success.
The success of our expedition will very likely transfer our operations to the coast. The best line of defense for Louisiana, as well as for operations against Texas, is by Berwick Bay and the Atchafalaya. To operate promptly and effectively on this line, we need light-draught sea boats, drawing 6 or 7 feet of water. A supply of these will be a measure of great economy to the Government. Larger ships are in great peril constantly, from their inability to escape the "northers" by entering the bays. We lost one excellent steamer, the Nassau, on the bar at Brazos from this cause. The steamers Saint Mary's, Clinton, Crescent, and others of that class, have been of the greatest service, and to them we owe the success of our expedition. It is of the utmost importance that this number should be increased. We need very much light-draught gunboats on the Atchafalaya, as, if this line is well protected from Berwick Bay to the Red River, the enemy necessarily is thrown back from the Mississippi.
Admiral Porter informs me that he had received your orders to send boats down, but that he was unable to enter the Atchafalaya from Red River, owing to the low stage of the water, and that his boats could not pass by sea into Berwick Bay with safety. I am quite confident that, watching for fair weather, all his boats can be buoyed around with the assistance of steamers. The distance is only 40 miles and the sea is often quite smooth. We have frequently sent river boats around in that way. I respectfully request your attention to this subject.
I have the honor to be, with much respect, your obedient servant,*
N. P. BANKS,
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, Numbers 2841/2.
Brazos Santiago, Tex., November 15, 1863.
I. Brigadier General T. E. G. Ransom is hereby assigned to the command of this post, including Brazos Island and Point Isabel. He will take charge of the troops now here, and prepare them for a movement up the coast this afternoon, in accordance with the verbal instructions already given.
* * * * *
V. The following are the directions for the expedition to Aransas Pass:
1. Brigadier-General Ransom will prepare all the troops at this post, except so many companies of the First and Sixteenth Corps d'Afrique as may be necessary to protect the stores at Brazos Island and Point Isabel, for the expedition, the general object of which is to obtain pos-
*See Halleck to Banks, December 7, p. 834, and Banks to Halleck, December 23, p. 871.