October 31, 1863.
Major General N. P. BANKS,
Commanding Department of the Gulf, in the Field:
GENERAL: The position of affairs in your rear is to-day as follows:
New Orleans, all quiet and in good order.
Western Louisiana, General Franklin occupies the country near the Carrion Crow Bayou and al in rear.
New Iberia was occupied by Lawler's division, Thirteenth Army Corps.
Franklin is occupied by two regiments and a detachment of cavalry.
There are sufficient supplies with General Franklin's forces and at New iberia for fifteen days, in provisions.
The transportation between Brashear and New Iberia is now ample, viz: Red Chief, J. M. Brown, A. G. Brown, and Louisiana Belle, with the Starlight on the way around.
In order to save coal, of which we are nearly destitute, I have ordered the purchase of wood on the Teche for the supply of the river steamers. When you left, there was no coal here in the quartermaster's department. Only 500 tons have since arrived, and no intimation was left by the chief quartermaster as to when or how much coal might be expected.
I have endeavored to borrow from the navy, and have procured all the commodore can spare - about 500 tons. Three hundred tons have been sent to Bradhear, and more will be held ready to transfer by railroad at the first intimation received by telegraph of your success of wants. I am having the city coal yards examined, to secure a supply from them, if necessary, and we shall get some from the naval department, Pensacola.
Wagons are arriving, and mules from up the river, and horses from that source and New York. Forage on hand is very limited, while our animals are rapidly increasing in numbers.
Brigadier-General Ransom has reported for duty in the Thirteenth Army Corps, and goes on the Warror to report to General Dana.
Brigadier-General Asboth has reported back, his order for Alton having been countermanded. He has been ordered to Pensacola, as before.
The commanding officer at Pensacola having reported that a regiment of white cavalry could be raised in Western Florida from among the refugees, I gave authority to Brigadier-General Asboth to proceed at once with the organization of one on his arrival.
From the nature of the reports about the country in rear of Plaquemine, I directed, as you intimated, General Cooke to send a regiment of infantry, a troop of cavalry, and a section of artillery to that point.
General Birge has been authorized to mount a company of infantry, to enable him to scout his district more thoroughly.
General Lee reports plenty of ponies brought in on the Teche, and has been authorized to mount the Thirtieth Massachusetts Volunteers.
Will you have to goodness to instruct me as to the extent to which you desire the mounting of infantry carried?
All is reported quiet at Baton Rouge and Port Hudson, with no large force of the enemy near. There were, however, vague rumors of a force of infantry at Jackson, La. They have not been confirmed.
CHAS. P. STONE,
Brigadier-General, and Chief of Staff.