SPECIAL ORDERS, HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, Numbers 5. New Orleans La., January 7, 1864.
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14. The commanding officer First, Indiana Artillery will immediately proceed to New Iberia, La., with such detachments of Companies A, B, F, G, H, I, and K, First Indiana Artillery, as shall not have re-enlisted for three years, and report to Major-General Franklin, for assigned to the 30-pounder and 20-pounder batteries now under his command. Having organized these batteries anew, according to such detailed instructions as he may receive from the chief of artillery, the commanding officer First Indiana Artillery, will report to the chief of artillery, at this city, with such officers, and enlisted men, as under the orders of the War Department and from these headquarters, may, by re-enlistment, be entitled to furlough. The quartermaster's department will furnish the necessary transportation.
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By command of Major-General Banks:
G. NORMAN LIEBER,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENTH CORPS,
Point Isabel, January 7, 1864.
Brigadier General C. P. STONE,
Chief of Staff:
I am detained here by a very furious norther which has prevented any communication with Brazos. I have been waiting new three days. The St. Mary's is at Brazos and I shall go on her to Fort esperanza. I wrote you a dispatch some days ago suggesting the removal of the troops which are now on the Rio Grande, except a garrison of 500 men, to Nueces River or in its vicinity. It will be understood that this recommendation is made solely under the hypothesis that the commanding general may intend to retain some-where in this region all the force that is now here.
Not knowing fully his intentions in this respect, I did not feel at liberty to suggest the ordering of all the disposable force here to join the column which will enter State of Texas by way of Matagorda Bay. I wish to be understood as making the suggestion only under the supposition that all the troops now on this line will be detained in Southwestern Texas, in which event they would much more effectually guard the frontier and control its approaches from the vicinity of this subject I would further urge that when the force on the Rio Grande in the vicinity of Brownsville is reduced to a garrison of 500 men this post be immediately abandoned. there is no water here and none to be procured at a less distance than 20 miles, and all the water for the troops and animals is hauled that distance. This is attended with great labor and expense, and considerable suffering among the animals.
The extra number of light craft which is necessary and the labor and expense of lightening all freight from Brazos Island here would be saved. When a garrison is left at the defenses of Brownsville and another here, the one here might be cut off from water by a