be specially large and efficient. Again, recurring to the line of supply, it will be seen that the Vicksburg and Shreveport road extends to Marshall, where there is an interval of 40 miles to Henderson, whence the road is completed to Galveston. The road from Marshall to Henderson, however, is graded, and could be completed in a short time. In case the enemy should abandon the coast this road will fall into our possession, and supplies could be obtained from two directions. Our colored troops, who are especially qualified for fighting guerrillas, could be usefully employed in guarding the entire line of this road from Vicksburg to Galveston. Texas is said to be full of blacks, who will be a valuable auxiliary in our operations in that State.
The campaign above sketched out would, I believe be a long one. Much preparation and labor will be required to insure the army against vexatious delays, which permit the enemy constantly to elude us. I should estimate, roughly that it would require until some time in May to effect the union of forces and be prepared with transportation for a movement into the interior. This would be about the commencement of the season most favorable for active operations in Texas. I suppose by that time wagon trains will be provided to haul supplies from Monroe to Shreveport, that the railroad will be in running order to Monroe, and the work of completing the road well under way. The time required for subsequent operations cannot well be estimated. It is highly probable that the rebel army will suffer greatly from destruction, an easy matter in an active campaign. The Arkansas will probably leave in the greatest numbers. Should their army, however, hold together well they will be able to prolong the contest some time.
The results of this campaign will be very great. As long as we are able to keep the enemy actively engaged in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, will be safe, and the process of reconstruction can be carried on without interruption; and should those States establish loyal State government, there can be no doubt that desertions would be very numerous. This plan of operations has the advantage over that of operating from the coast of Texas. It also has the advantage of enabling us to bring a much larger force of cavalry into the field. It is,however, a much more difficult plan to execute, requires much more time, and is much more uncertain as to the time it will require to accomplish any of the objects undertaken.
The movement by the coast of Texas possesses the great advantage of enabling us to deceive the enemy as to our intentions, which is not the case with the other plan. Our troops and supplies can be quickly moved by steamer to any point on the coast. Landings can be threatened at different points and the enemy kept in ignorance of our intentions. We now hold the harbor of Matagorda, the best on the coast, next to Galveston. We have a secure point for the debarkation of troops and supplies. The distance by land to Houston is 150 miles, over good roads, three in number, one via Texana and Wharton, one via Matagorda and Columbia, and the third along the beach to the mouth of Brazos River.
Very little baggage need be required on this march as the point of supply can be transferred to Brazos River, and San Luis Pass in succession. A much less force would be required for this operation than the other. The rebel forces now in Arkansas will remain there as long as our force is opposed to them, and we would only have to meet the force in lower Texas.