where we were re-enforced, and drove the enemy in turn. I have ordered the officers in command to drive the opposing pickets suddenly into Berwick, so as to obtain a clear view of the position, the number and kind of transports, &c., so that we may arrive at a definite opinion of the enemy's designs. As soon as the enemy commits himself fully to the Texas expedition, if that be really his purpose, I shall attempt to overthrow the force in front of Green, on the Mississippi, hold the Fordoche and Morganza roads with infantry, and push all the cavalry into Bay. Should circumstances warrant it, we can then push Algiers or at least the lower coast. This in case instructions from department headquarters do not render other dispositions necessary, for the dispatches from General Hebert indicate rapid progress by the enemy in front of General Price.
Lieutenant Watkins, from General S. D. Lee, has reached here. I give instant attention to the subject of his mission. I have invited General Lee's notice to my proposed plan, as above indicated, and suggested that could he sweep down with a large force of cavalry on the opposite side, we might strike a heavy blow, and force a recall of the Texas expedition. I will endeavor to communicate often with General Lee, using a cipher for our communication.
General Magruder will be kept informed of the movement below.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WESTERN LOUISIANA,
Alexandria, September 24, 1863.
Major General STEPHEN D. LEE:
GENERAL: Lieutenant Watkins, of your command, reached my headquarters to-day, and communicated the verbal messages which you had intrusted to him. I have pickets stationed along the river from a point opposite Fort Adams to a point opposite Tunica, but as your forces are considerably north of the first-mentioned point, I shall at once dispatch suitable persons to establish themselves opposite Rodney, so that communication may be opened and kept up with you at that place. connected with this party will be a detachment of the signal corps, which will enable us to carry on our communication with tolerable facility. It is my purpose to harass the enemy above as well as below the mouth of Red River with light batteries and sharpshooters, and by means of horse artillery and mounted men the mobility of these attacking columns will enable them to harass the enemy and seriously interfere with his navigation of the Mississippi River.
I have had for several weeks past a force consisting of light artillery and mounted men operating against the enemy from points from 30 to 40 miles below the mouth of Red River, in the neighborhood of Morganza, which has been of much annoyance to him, and has served quite effectually to interfere for a week or ten days at a time with the navigation of the river by transports and commercial vessels. As long as this policy can be carried out, I shall continue it.
The force concentrating at Berwick Bay is a large one, and from all the information which I can gather is intended to move into Texas. As soon as this movement takes place, the strength of the enemy in the lower portion of Louisiana will be materially lessened, and by a rapid movement into the La Fourche country on my part, with a simultaneous