War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0889 Chapter XXXVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

river batteries at Port Hudson and the removal of the guns. There is no excuse for his neglect, as his attention has been repeatedly called to the subject. Since your dispatch was received, the guns have been removed and the works demolished.

In reference to the report made by General Steele, that General Price, with a portion of the rebel troops, was moving toward Little Rock, I beg to suggest that but a small force of Texas troops can be moving in that direction. The greater portion are in Texas or in Central Louisiana. A portion of my command is now on the Teche, but will probably be withdrawn. The rivers are not yet deep enough to enable us to advance toward the Red River, excepting by wrong communication, which is impracticable. The country is without supplies of any kind. It is my desire if possible, to get possession of Galveston. This, if effected, will give us control of the entire coast of Texas, and require but two small garrisons one on the Rio Grande, and the other on Galveston Island unless it be the wish of the Department of War that extensive operations should be made in the State of Texas. A sufficient number of men can probably be recruited in that State for the permanent occupation of these two posts. It would relieve a very large number of naval vessels, whose service is now indispensable to us on the Mississippi, and in the Gulf. This can occupy but a short time, and, if executed, will leave my whole force in hand to move to any other point on the Red River or wherever the Government may direct. Once possessed of Galveston and my command ready for operations in any other direction, I shall await the orders of the Government but I trust that this may be accomplished before undertaking any other enterprise. It is impossible at this time to move as far north as Alexandria by water. The Red River is not open to the navigation of our gunboats, and it is commanded by Fort De Russy, which has been remounted since our occupation of Alexandria. This position must be turned by means of a large force on land before the gunboats can pass.

To co-operate with General Steele in Arkansas, or north of Red River, will bring nearly the whole rebel force of Texas and Louisiana between New Orleans and my command, without the possibility of dispersing or defeating them as their movement would be directed south and mine to the north. It is necessary that his force should be first dispersed or destroyed before I can safely o[perate in conjunction with General Steele. Once possessed of the coast of Texas, and the naval and land forces relieved, I can then operate against the forces in Louisiana or Texas, and I can disperse or destroy the land forces in Louisiana, and safely co-operate with General Steele or with any other portion of the army of the United States. It was in this manner that we captured Port Hudson. It would have been impracticable to proceed against Port Hudson from the Mississippi without having first dispersed the army of Texas and Louisiana on the west of that river.

I bear in mind the danger consequent upon the division of forces, but must suggest to you that my department is extended and many posts must be occupied; and while I would be very glad to keep my forces concentrated, it is impossible to do so. The orders of the Government seemed to be peremptory that I was to occupy a position in Texas, and those which I have in view, Brownsville and Galveston, required as little force as any other position in that State. To this fact may be added that there are supplies and recruits cannot be found in any other portion of this department. In all my operations, you may rely upon the bulk of my forces being kept together, and prepared for any movements of the enemy. It is possible, but not probable, that they will