War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0491 Chapter XXXVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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This dispatch will be forwarded to the general early in the morning. At day light we shall begin to cross the divisions of Grover and Emory. The former is at Simsport, the latter 7 miles back. There is only the Laurel Hill to do the work. General Andrews and I have both written to the commanding general, strongly urging the vital importance of coal, steamboats, and prompt movement. The quartermaster at Brashear has also been urged and directed to forward coal immediately. If you receive coal, the commanding general will probably request your assistance in the transportation of his infantry to Bayou Sara.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

[RICH'D B. IRWIN,]

Assistant Adjutant-General.

SPECIAL ORDERS,

HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, 19TH A. C., No. 118.

Sims' Plantation,opposite Simsport, May 17, 1863.

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III. During the absence of these headquarter from New Orleans, the troops serving in the district of La Fourche, under the command of Colonel C. E. L. Holmes, Twenty-third Connecticut, consisting of his own regiment and the One hundred and seventy-sixth New York, will be reported to Brigadier General Thomas W. Sherman, commanding the Defenses of New Orleans.

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By command of Major-General Banks:

[RICH'D B. IRWIN,]

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE NEW MEXICO,

Santa Fe N. Mex., May 17, 1863.

Brigadier General JOSEPH R. WEST,

Hart's Mills, Tex.:

GENERAL: My opinion is that no 4,000 men will make a demonstration on this country from Texas, at least until the growing crops are ripe. It is possible, perhaps probable, that half that number may soon attempt a raid into the country, some across the Llano Estacado (see the accompanying letter*) and some via Fort Davis. But, admitting that you are menaced by 4,000 men, a contingency alluded to in your letter of the 8th instant, there is not force enough in New Mexico safely to spare you 2,000 men, and the only light battery in the Territory for the defense of Hart's Mills and environs, without so weakening vital points as to make it too hazardous to do so. Everything must not be trusted upon one card, with the chances even then of 2,000 against 4,000. It is made in the right spirit, this offer of yours, and with California troops to stand by you, you could but come out of the battle with glory whatever might be the result. But, suppose for a moment that you have gathered this force there. Now contemplate the board!

If you were at Hart's Mills, could he not amuse you by cavalry demonstration, while his main force could march on the Magoffin Salt Lake road to San Augustine Spring, and come into Dona Ana in spite of you, and thus get between you and your source of supplies? Could you help his doing this and still yourself hold Hart's Mills and defend the Mesilla

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*Not found.

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