November 24, 1863.
GENERAL: An intelligent scout, escaped from Texas, by way of Alexandria, says that Magruder crossed the Sabine at Niblett's Bluff about ten days or tow weeks ago, to move toward Vermillionville his entire force, more than 20,000 of all kinds, volunteers, militia, and conscripts. That Kirby Smith has sent all his force from Shreveport to Dick Taylor excepting 500 retained by him at Shreveport. That Walker, Mouton, Green, and Maxwell [?] are trying to get in rear of Brashear; have crossed the Atchafalaya for that purpose, at the same time sending artillery to the mouth of Red River to annoy our transports. I shall send the scout to you to morrow morning.
I have blocked the passage of any ordinary force at Plaquemine, and have ordered reconnaissance from Brashear to look at the Grand River road.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHAS. P. STONE,
Brigadier-General, and Chief of Staff.
PORT HUDSON, LA.,
November 24, 1863-10.30 a. m.
Brigadier General CHARLES P. STONE,
Chief of Staff, New Orleans:
Navigation appears to be interrupted above Natchez. The steamer Welcome was fired into above that place on her way down. Thirty women and children on board, including General Crocker's family. None of theme hurt.
GEO. L. ANDREWS,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding Post.
NEW ORLEANS, LA.,
November 25, 1863.
Major General N. P. BANKS,
Commanding Department of the Gulf, in the Field:
GENERAL: Brigadier-General Lawler went forward to you yesterday, with 750 infantry of the Thirteenth Army Corps, on board steamer Saint Mary's.
Active and searching reconnaissances have been made from Plaquemine, Donaldsonville, and Napoleonville, westerly and northwesterly, without so far developing the enemy on the Grossetete or Grand River.
Boat and steamboat reconnaissances in Lake Verret and Bayou Long are not reported. General Birge is, of course, vigilant and efficient.
General Franklin, on receiving the information which was furnished you in my last letter on yesterday concerning the reported movement of Magruder toward Vermillionville, took immediately steps toward feeling the enemy there, and early this morning pushed out Lee with a heavy mounted force.
Lee's conduct is reported by Franklin as admirable. His cavalry