HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WESTERN LOUISIANA,
Alexandria, October 6, 1863.
Colonel S. S. ANDERSON,
COLONEL: By direction of Major-General Taylor, I have the honor to inclose the accompanying copy of a letter from General Mouton and the pass given by Major-General Franklin,* from which you will perceive the condition of affairs below.
I also quote the following from General Taylor's letter:
There is no doubt that the enemy is advancing in very large force. Whether it is his intention to march to the Red River Valley before going to Texas has not yet been developed, but to-day or to-morrow will decide what he means.
You know he can strike out by the road from Vermillionville or from New Iberia, via Abbeville, to Niblett's Bluff. I shall gradually and quietly remove surplus stores from this point. There are some 470 or 480 Federal prisoners, captured by General Green, who will be started for Shreveport to-morrow morning.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. SUB-DISTRICT OF SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA,
Camp Pratt, October 4, 1863-7.30 p. m.
Major General RICHARD TAYLOR,
Commanding District of Western Louisiana:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report the enemy at New Iberia. We left the town at sundown. Colonel Vincent ambushed them at Nelson's Bridge, and their advance was driven in, leaving the road full of dead and wounded. I will move this command, say about 250 men, beyond the Vermillion after midnight to-night, leaving only men enough to observe and to get on their flank, so as to find out their exact strength. They are in large force. Colonel Major cannot reach the Vermillion before to-morrow night. I have sent him orders to cut across the country, and cross the Vermillion at Mouton's Bridge, 6 miles above the public bridge. I cannot do anything except watch their movements and ascertain their force.
A prisoner taken this evening states the enemy have seven regiments of cavalry, and a very large quantity of artillery - among them the siege Parrotts. He says he has always heard there were 75,000 men under General Franklin. They are going to Texas. The expedition by water was given up. General Banks is in New Orleans; General Grant, he says, is expected, having gone to Mobile. He says their camps extended from near Berwick Bay to near Franklin, showing these by their force. The prisoner is an America, rather intelligent, and gave the names and number of the cavalry regiments, and was made to repeat them, so as to see whether he was telling the truth. His statement was consistent in every instance. I hope to meet Colonel Major to-morrow before the enemy reaches that point.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,