Louisiana, with re-enforcements from your command, may be concentrated on the Red River for the defense of Arkansas and Louisiana and offensive operations against Texas. With the forces indicated such a movement will be successful, and confer important advantages on the Government. The occupation of Shreveport will be as fatal to the troops west of the Mississippi as that of Chattanooga to the east. I earnestly hope that this co-operation may be effected. My own force is not sufficient to enable me to go to the Red River with safety, and if left to myself, I can only operate feebly, with my present command, from the coast, which would perhaps give us the control of Western Texas, but weaken us to the same extent in Louisiana, and leaving the mass of the enemy in our center. I was very glad to receive your assurances that such a movement would be acceptable to you, and hope that speedy measures may be taken to carry it into effect. I can occupy Alexandria as soon as the water in the Atchafalaya and Red Rives rises so as to enable us to use water communication.
It will give me pleasure to know if you have received communications from the Department of War upon this subject, and to what extent you will be able to assist us if the plan shall be adopted. Captain Robert T. Dunham, of my staff, will present this to you. He is an officer who can be relied upon, and I beg you will communicate to him any information that may be of service. He also bears dispatches to Major-General Steele, commanding forces in Arkansas, and will communicate to you any information he may receive from him upon this general subject. I shall lose no opportunity to give you early information of occurrences in this department as they may transpire, or of the orders I may receive from the Government at Washington.
I have the honor to be, with much respect, you obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
HDQRS. SIGNAL CORPS, DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, La., January 25, 1864
Major GEORGE B. DRAKE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Gulf:
In compliance with Special Orders, Numbers 15, dated headquarters Department of the Gulf, January 18, 1864, I have the honor to report that on the evening of the 21st instant I started with 6 officers and 30 enlisted men for Fort Jackson. On account of a heavy fog we were detained so that we did not arrive at the fort until 2 p.m. of the 23rd. I at once placed two officers at the fort and then proceeded down the rive and established the second station, on the left bank, distant from the first 6 miles. From this we ran down 5 miles and established the third station, on the right bank; by this time night had fallen and we were unable to proceed farther until the next day, when a fourth station was established, on the left bank, distant from the third 5 miles. From this station we were able to see the light-house, at the head of the passes, distant 6 miles, where a fifth station was established. From this station we communicate with the telegraph operator near the light-house, and are also able to see the mouths of the passes. The entire line was in successful operation at 12 m. on Saturday, the 23rd instant. The interme-
10 R R-VOL XXXIV, PT II