post reports forthwith, and at the end of every month hereafter, to Captain J. M. Bradshaw, assistant quartermaster at these headquarters, the amount of forage on hand, and the whole number of animals to be foraged.
If at any time his papers should not be made up so as to show the exact amount of forage on hand, an estimate [as nearly correct as practicable] should be forwarded.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE S. HAMPTON,
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, January 11, 1864.
Major General N. P. BANKS,
GENERAL: Your dispatch of December 30 is received.* General Andrews' neglect of orders in regard to the river batteries at Port Hudson deserves a reprimand, if not a more severe punishment. I am assured by the Navy Department that Admiral Porter will be prepared to co-operate with you as soon as the stage of water in the Southwest will admit of the use of his flotilla there. General Steele's command is now under the general orders of General Grant, and it is hoped that he and General Sherman may also be able to co-operate with you at an early day. General Sherman is now on the Mississippi River, and General Grant expects to soon be able to re-enforce him.
A regiment of cavalry and one of infantry have been ordered to your command to-day from Maine. Two or three batteries of artillery will be sent from here as soon as transportation can be procured. It is enormously expensive to ship horses from here on account of the heavy losses at sea.
The failure to send you animals and forage from the West is probably due to neglect of subordinate agents of the Quartermaster's Department. An examination has been ordered, and it is hoped that measures will be adopted to prevent a recurrence of the evils complained of.
Re-enlistments in old regiments progressed favorably till Congress prohibited bounties; unless this resolution should be repealed, we shall get very few more old soldiers. Recruiting in the North and East is very slow, but the regiments will be forwarded to you as rapidly as they can be filled up. It has never been expected that your troops would operate north of Red River, unless the rebel forces in Texas should be withdrawn into Arkansas. But it was proposed that General Steele should advance to Red River, if he could rely upon your co-operation, and he could be certain of receiving supplies on that line. Being uncertain on these points, he determined not to attempt an advance, but to occupy the Arkansas River as his line of defense.
The best military opinions of the generals in the West seem to favor operations on Red River, provided the stage of water will enable the gun boats to co-operate. I presume General Sherman will communicate with you on this subject.
*See Vol. XXVI. Part I, p.888.