four guns, all under command of Colonel Sheldon, Forty-second Ohio, and being a part of the First Brigade, Third Division, Thirteenth Army Corps, arrived at this post this morning at 9 a. m., and marched immediately for Donaldsonville, where they will probably arrive to-morrow. The strength of Colonel Sheldon's command is about 1,050 men.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. BIRGE,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., November 19, 1863.
[Major General N. P. BANKS:]
* * *
The General-in-Chief suggests that General Steele might now advance to Red River and forma junction with you, or at least hold that river while you operate in Texas. I am anxious to advance his force to Red River as soon as practicable. No doubt this will also strengthen you, and aid to carry out your plans.
* * *
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
NEW ORLEANS, November 19, 1863.
ADJUTANT-GENERAL OF THE ARMY, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I deem it my duty to report for the information of the War Department the recent action taken by the United States district court in this city in reference to the prize-steamer Alabama, now in the transport service of the army.
When Major-General Banks left this place, on the 26th ultimo, for the Rio Grande, he directed me to remain at these headquarters and carry out such directions as he had given and would give me.
Among the important duties with which I was charged was that of forwarding troops and supplies in case he should call for them.
On the arrival of the first return steamer from the expedition, I learned that artillery was greatly required, and while I had an excellent battery ready, I had no means of transporting it, with its men and horses.
On the 9th of November, I directed the quartermaster's department to purchase the prize-steamer Alabama, which I understood had been condemned and ordered sold. On the 10th instant, I was informed that the commodore of the West Gulf Squadron had secured her for the naval service. I immediately applied to Commodore Bell, asking him to lend her to the army for the period of a month, and during the evening of the 10th received an answer that he consented. Notwithstanding the consent of the commodore reached me only about night-fall, I caused workmen to be placed at once on board of her, and repairs and preparations were carried on uninterruptedly throughout the night of the 10th and the day and night of the 11th, and on the morning of the 12th she was nearly ready for sea, with boilers repaired, stalls for horses erected, coal partly on board, &c. She was expected to sail shortly after noon, and get over the [bar] or the river and to se that night. Greatly to my astonishment and regret, a report was brought