[AUGUST 7, 1863.- For Grant to Banks, in reference to transfer of Thirteenth Army Corps to Department of the Gulf, see Series I, Vol. XXIV, Part III, p. 580.]
WASHINGTON, D. C., August 10, 1863.
Major General N. P. BANKS, Commanding Department of the Gulf:
GENERAL: In my dispatch to you the 6th instant, sent by the direction of the Secretary of War, it was entirely to your own discretion to select any point for occupation in Texas, either on the seaboard or in the interior, the only condition imposed being that the flag of the United States should be again raised and sustained somewhere within the limits of that State.
That order, as I understood it at the time, was of a diplomatic rather than of a military character, and resulted from some European complications, or, more properly speaking was intended to prevent such complications.
The effect and force of that order are left precisely as they were at its issue. The authority conferred on you by it is not in the slightest degree changed.
You will, therefore, consider the following remarks as suggestions only, and not as instructions.
In my opinion, neither Indianola nor Galveston is the proper point of attack. If it be necessary, as urged by Mr. Seward, that the flag be restored to some one point in Texas, that can be best and most safely effected by a combined military and naval movement up Red River to Alexandria, Natchitoches, or Shreveport, and the military occupation of Northern Texas. This would be merely carrying out the plans proposed by you at the beginning of the campaign, and, in my opinion, far superior in its military character to the occupation of Galveston or Indianola. Nevertheless, your choice is left unrestricted.
In the first place, by adopting the line of the Red River, you retain your connection with your own base, separate still more the two points of the rebel Confederacy. Moreover, you cut Northern Louisiana and Southern Arkansas entirely off from supplies and re-enforcements from Texas. They are already cut off from the rebel States east of the Mississippi.
If you occupy Galveston or Indianola, you divide your own troops, and enable the enemy to concentrate all of his forces upon either of these points or on New Orleans.
I write this simply as a suggestion and not as a military instruction.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS,
New Orleans, August 10, 1863.
Major General U. S. GRANT, Commanding, &c., Vicksburg, Miss.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, dated the 7th of August, by the hand of Captain [Peter] Hudson.
General Ord has reported to me, and I have directed his corps to be camped near the city of New Orleans. I think he will find everything to his satisfaction, and I do not anticipate any important movements which will put his men to great labor. His transportation will be used
43 R - VOL XXVI, PT I