ceived this morning at 9.15 a. m. by telegraph from General Grant, and a duplicate of the same this evening by Colonel [T. K.] Smith, one of his aides-de-camp.
Measures have been already taken to carry into effect your orders. We shall plant the flag in Texas within a week, I hope. My plan has been to move against Galveston upon the land side, via the Sabine Pass, and from Berwick Bay, via Vermillionville and Niblett's Bluff, to Houston and Galveston, for the transportation and artillery. We shall be ready, I think, as soon as General Grant's corps can reach us. The route indicated is that followed by the Texans in their invasions of Western Louisiana.
We can move 8,000 men at once to the Sabine Pass, and thence concentrate rapidly on Galveston, fortifying and holding a position on the mainland or the island only, as may be deemed expedient. From thence operations are practicable in any directing to the interior or to the Rio Grande.
From Galveston, when strongly fortified, I would move a force of 5,000 or more to the Rio Grande, where one or more positions can be so fortified as to be held by a much less force, while we hold Galveston or the interior of the State. This has been my view of operations in Texas from the beginning.
Indianola is too far distant; does not command the important communications of the State, and, of occupied, would leave the forces of the enemy between us and New Orleans, which is to be avoided, if possible.
No movement can be made from the gulf against Galveston with a certainly of success. Our naval forces are not strong enough, and the enemy's works are too extensive and through. The enemy fears only an attack from the land, via Niblett's Bluff, the route I propose, or Alexandria. From that points our success this from intercepted letters while at Alexandria, in May.
I send a sketch of the fortifications at Galveston made at that time by one who was engaged upon them, with a description of the guns mounted.
If General Grant sends me 10,000 men, I can throw 20,000 immediately into Texas. The force should be larger, if possible. I urge strongly upon the Government, if possible, to fill up some of our old regiments with conscripts or volunteers. This would greatly relieve us. Officers have been sent north for this purpose.
I am very deficient in cavalry. I ought to have a few regiments from the west. General Grierson desires to join us in the expedition to Texas, and would render us infinite service. If possible, I hope he may be ordered to join us. Once in Texas, with a moderate cavalry force, we can mount our men rapidly.
I have organized about twenty regiments of the Corps d'Afrique, of 500 men each, besides a regiment of engineers of 1,200, and two regiments of infantry, of 800 each, numbering in all about 12,000. They are nearly ready for service. When in Texas, I shall fill these skeleton regiments to the number of 800 or 1,000 men each. These regiments will thus number, when full, 25,000 men. I want good officers. If you can send me 50 or 100, or more, good company officers, or for field and staff in fair proportions, I shall be glad.
I will report our progress daily, in preparation and movement.
I have the honor to be, with much respect, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,