War of the Rebellion: Serial 042 Page 0015 Chapter XXXVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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hands to General Pemberton. Whether Banks' movements are against Port Hudson or he crosses to the assistance of General Grant, the information would be of great importance to General Pemberton.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. R. BOGGS,

Brigadier-General, and Chief of Staff.

HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT, Shreveport, La., May 21, 1863.

Major General RICHARD TAYLOR:

GENERAL: Since my letter to you yesterday, I have seen a gentleman, Dr. Taylor, from within the enemy's lines near New Carthage. I have directed him to leave on the boat for your headquarters with his information. I am convinced an opportunity offers for striking a blow which may affect the whole result of the campaign in the west. The Tenasas is, I believe, navigable to the Mill road, between Richmond and Monroe; the waters have fallen so that a march across to the Mississippi is now practicable. The passage of Bayou Vidal is the only obstacle; it can be bridged or rafted, should the bridge at Richmond be not secured to us. If the move can be made promptly, you will, I feel assured, meet with no opposition. Dr. Taylor informs me the line was guarded by convalescents and some negro troops; no danger was anticipated.

If the enemy's gunboats hold the month of Black River, the shipment of troops from Alexandria by water will be impracticable; in any event it will be attacked with some hazard. By courier to Monroe, the boats in the Washita can be brought to Harrisonburg or Le Croix Ferry in sufficient number to transport Walker's whole division.

You must weigh the matter well in all its bearings; if at all practicable, undertake the expedition. Should General Banks have fallen back toward New Orleans, or, what is more probable, be endeavoring to cross the Mississippi, it is the proper disposition of your command. The amount of stores, munitions, and provisions exposed to capture is great. The holding of Bayou Vidal for ten days endangers Grant's whole army. Should he in the meantime have been defeated, it insures his destruction.

I inclose you a memorandum of distances; also a sketch from the map of Medican Parish;* they may be of use till better can be obtained.

There are still five boats here which can be sent below, if you desire it. I think you have transforation sufficient for Walker's division.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. KIRBY SMITH,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT, Shreveport, La., May 21, 1863.

Lieutenant General J. C. PEMBERTON,

Commanding District of Mississippi, Jackson, Miss.:

GENERAL: I am directed by Lieutenant-General Smith to inform you that, after advancing as far as Cotile, on the Red River, General Banks has retreated rapidly toward Opelousas; also to send you the following

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*Not found.

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