While your army is engaged in cleaning out Southwestern Louisiana, every preparation should be made for an expedition into Texas. Should Johnston be driven from Mississippi, General Grant can send you considerable re-enforcements. The organization of colored troops should be pushed forward as rapidly as possible. They will serve as part of the garrison of the forts on the river and interior posts, and some of the older regiments will do well in the field. Your water transportation should be increased. Many of your supplies can be now obtained from Saint Louis and the West.
I inclose herewith a copy of my dispatches of July 22 to General Grant.*
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
[JULY 25, 1863.- For Banks to Grant, in relation to re-enforcements, see Series I, Vol. XXIV, Part III, p. 551.]
July 25, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report that I arrived at this morning at 10 o'clock. Captain Wiggin, of the navy, reached here on the 22nd without opposition. The enemy were compelled to leave behind nine pieces of heavy artillery; they burned the carriages, but the guns are not materially injured. The ruins of fifty-two railroad cars and two engines lie upon the track. I shall commence removing the debris and relaying the track to-morrow morning.
The docks and landings are undisturbed; no buildings of consequence are destroyed. The defensive works, nearly completed, are of the strongest character. I find some 200 head of beef-cattle and a small quantity of other supplies.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
FRANK H. PECK,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Detachment.
WASHINGTON, D. C.,
July 26, 1863.
New Orleans, La.:
GENERAL: Your dispatch of the 19th is just received. My dispatches to General Grant, copies of which have been sent to you, will inform you that he has been requested to give you such re-enforcements as may be necessary to enable you to clean the enemy out of Southwestern Louisiana. In s dispatch to me, he proposed to do this immediately. You cannot expect any re-enforcements from the north at present. Our army here is greatly reduced by the discharge of nine-months' and two-years' troops, and, as yet, we have received no drafted men to supply their places.
This reduction comes just at a time to prevent us from profiting by
* See Series I, Vol. XXIV, Part III, p. 542.