War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0560 W.FLA.,S.ALA.,S.MISS.,LA.,TEX.,N.MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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lake in small detachments, and burn the bridges at Bayou Boeuf and La Fourche Crossing. They have been foiled in that by free use of the convalescents, who have been kept on this road and at the crossings in large numbers. I have only been awaiting the arrival of a gunboat at Brashear City to send these convalescents to join their regiments. The gunboat, I fear, is not able to cross the bar at Berwick Bay. I will, however, if you are in want of them, send forward these and all other convalescents.

I have not been able to make a personal inspection of the defenses, as I am still unable to ride without inconvenience, but I have caused thorough inspection by staff officers at every point excepting Ship Island. Everything is in good state of preparation, excepting the numerical force. That, as you know, is very deficient, and I consider it necessary that one of two things shall be done-that I should be re-enforced by four or five regiments, or if, as is probable, that cannot be done, transports should be held ready at Springfield [Landing] to re-enforce me in case of a raid on the city. The city was never more quiet than at this time, but I learn the rebel sympathizers confidently anticipate a movement of Buchanan's fleet in this direction, to cover a landing in Lake Borgne. At present they have little or no land force at Mobile, but, in case of a reverse to our arms at Vicksburg or Port Hudson, they can put a force in Mobile by railroad in a few hours.

The Creole is in, but brings no late news.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.



Before Port Hudson, June 15, 1863.

The brigadier-general commanding the division congratulates the troops on the brave advance they made yesterday, and the ground they gained from the enemy, which they now hold.

Every such approach toward the enemy must discourage and distress the rebel force; but to do this, it is important that not a step of ground be lost; that from every ravine and every artificial cover our riflemen shall annoy and destroy the rebels within their works. It is important, then, that our soldiers shall get such advanced positions that the enemy cannot move about within their works in safety.

The brigadier-general commanding the division has to complain that regimental commanders do not keep their men well enough in hand, and that line officers do not keep the soldiers in ranks with sufficient strictness. These faults must be corrected. No soldiers can march to an assault who fail to preserve their formation strictly; no advance can be well held when soldiers are suffered to leave ranks; no sharpshooters or skirmishers can be effective unless controlled by their line officers.

Regimental commanders do not preserve control over their regiments when they allow their soldiers to mingle with the soldiers of other regiments on the battle-field. The proper intervals of regiments must, under all circumstances, be preserved. When regiments are crowded, they are inefficient, and sometimes uselessly exposed.

By order of Brigadier-General Dwight:


Assistant Adjutant-General.