Port Hudson. The unfortunate fall of Vicksburg, followed by that of Port Hudson, releasing from the operations in which they had been engaged so large an army that my longer possession of this country depended upon the sufferance of the enemy rather than upon my ability to prevent him from surrounding or cutting off my little army, I was obliged to commence the evacuation of this section of the country.
Before doing so, however, I determined to fight the enemy on his first advance in force, and on the 14th, General [Godfrey] Weitzel's, on the west bank, and another brigade on the east bank of the La Fourche, were met by General Green's and Colonel Major's commands. The fighting was confined principally to the west bank, and the enemy was decisively routed, with a loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners of nearly 1,000, with a loss of 4 killed and 25 wounded, in all about 30, on our side. This having effectually checked his advance, I withdrew my forces from the Mississippi River and neighborhood, and have fallen back to Bayou Boeuf and Chuckahoula, within convenient distance, perfectly accessible to this place, and have crossed all my trains and stores excepting such as far needed from day to day.
If the enemy means to overrun and occupy Louisiana, it is within his power to do so. The rise in the Mississippi and Red and Atchafalaya Rivers will enable them to throw their gunboats and transports into the very heart of Western Louisiana; and if they should a large force up Red River, or march a column from Simsport or Morgan's Ferry to Washington or Opelousas, the only course which will be left will be for me to proceed with the troops now in this section to Niblett's Bluff.
I have made arrangements to have depots of supplies established on the eastern end of the route from Vermillionville to Niblett's Bluff. Will you establish depots at that place, and at points, respectively, one, two, and three days' march therefrom, on the Louisiana side, for, say, 7,500 troops?
The condition of affairs resulting from the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson indicates most strongly that an army of the Trans-Mississippi Department must concentrate in Texas; and my conversations and interchange of views with you, when you passed through Alexandria, not only assure me of your desire to co-operate in everything which will promote the good of our cause and the service in which we are engaged, but induce me without hesitation to call upon you to carry out such arrangements as I am satisfied you concur with me in believing are necessary and prudent.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WESTERN LOUISIANA, Breasher City, July 18, 1863.
Major General J. B. MAGRUDER,
Commanding District of Texas, New Mexico, &c.:
GENERAL: If you have the means of doing so, I would be glad if you would picket the various frequented crossing of the Sabine River, giving instructions to your officers in charge to arrest all stragglers from this command who are making their way into Texas. Many of these men are bringing disgrace upon the service and their State, by taking off stolen horse and other property. I have given instructions to the