I advised you from the beginning to adopt. In regard to your Sabine and Rio Grande expeditions, no notice of your intention to make them was received here till they were actually undertaken. The danger, however, of dividing your army, with the enemy between the two parts, ready to fall upon either with his entire force, was pointed out from the first, and I have continually urged that you must not expect any considerable re-enforcements from other departments.
Your communications in regard to light-draught sea-going vessels have been referred to the Quartermaster-General, who has uniformly answered that he had given you all such vessels that were available, there being only a small number that could be procured. His attention will be again called to the matter to-day.
In regard to gunboats for your department, we must rely upon the Navy. Admiral Porter has been requested to give you all possible assistance in this matter. You may not be aware that by a law of last Congress, the building, purchasing, and commanding of gunboats are placed exclusively under the Navy Department. I will again ask that admirals commanding in the Gulf and in the Mississippi be directed to co-operate with you and render you all the aid in their power. You will also communicate with them, asking their assistance in any way you desire.
The Secretary of War has directed Major General J. J. Reynolds to repair immediately to New Orleans, and assume command at that place in your absence, reporting to you.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
HEADQUARTERS TROOPS IN WESTERN LOUISIANA,
New Iberia, December 7, 1863.
Brigadier General CHARLES P. STONE,
Chief of Staff, New Orleans, La.:
I sent out some 350 cavalry last night to capture some 70 or 80 rebels, said to have been near Abbeville; but our information was incorrect; none were found.
The Eighth New Hampshire Regiment left this morning, and Burbridge's command this afternoon. There has been some picket skirmishing toward Saint Martinsville, but nothing important. The negotiations for the exchange of prisoners have commenced. Those at New Orleans for exchange should be prepared for transportation at short notice.
W. B. FRANKLIN,
HDQRS. 19TH A. C., AND U. S. FORCES,
New Iberia, La., December 7, 1863.
I. The Fourth Division, Thirteenth Army Corps, will march this day at 1 p. m. They will proceed to Berwick City; arriving there, the commanding officer will report by telegraph to headquarters Department of the Gulf, New Orleans.
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By order of Major-General Franklin: