on the 1st of March, or as soon as they could move or navigation would permit the movement. I immediately put myself in communication with General Sherman and General Steele, receiving from them dispatches, the substance of which has been transmitted to you, and stating that they would be ready to co-operate with me in the movement up the Red River by the 1st of March. I had informed them that I would be ready to move at that time, and have sent an officer to communicate with General Sherman, if he can be found, or General Steele and Admiral Porter, upon the same subject, and to the same effect. I am ready to move the moment I can hear from either of these officers. If General Steele alone can co-operate with me I shall move my column by the 5th of March. I am daily expecting dispatches from him upon this subject.
General Sherman appears to have hone to the east, and as far as public rumor indicates the direction of his movement, it is toward Mobile. In compliance whit his request Admiral Foraged made a demonstration upon the coast in the vicinity of Mobile, as indicating a purpose of attack, in order to draw off any troops that might be sent from Mobile to intercept the movement of his column.
He expected, as I have heretofore informed you, to return to the Mississippi by the 1st of March, and to be ready to co-operate with me. Since that I have not heard from him. I am very greatly embarrassed and depressed by the demand which admiral Foraged makes upon me for troops to assist him in a movement against Mobile, and also by the idea impressed upon the public mind that I am to co-operate with General sherman against the same point. This would be my desire if it were consistent with my orders from the Government, but I understand that I am to move against Shreveport, and am unable to diode my command by any demonstration against Mobile, which must take some weeks before I could get them to this point again, and which would effectually defeat the operations which I have contemplated under your orders.
If General Steele replies, in conformity with his last dispatch, that he can move by the first week in March in the direction of Shreveport, I shall start my column, with as near 15,000 men as I can make it, at the same time. It will be impossible for me to go into that country alone as I have not a sufficient force to make myself secure against the concentrated force of the enemy, which is much stronger than mine. I do not expect instructions from Washington beyond what I have received except it relate to the movements of General Sherman or General Steele. If either of these will co-operate with me I shall move at once. I have been in constant preparation for this enterprise since the receipt of your dispatch upon this subject. There is but 32 inches of water above Alexandria. Navigation to Alexandria is practicable. There is not water enough in the Atchafalaya to enable us to communicate at any point south of the Red River, and therefore all our water communication must be by the Mississippi and Red Rivers. I can be at Alexandria or Natchitoches on the 15th of March, if either of the other commands shall co-operate with me in time.
The election in this State on the 22nd February was conducted with great spirit and propriety. The aggregate vote will reach nearly 12,000, which is equal to an ordinary average vote of the same portions of the State for the past ten years. All the voters took the oath prescribed by the President in his proclamation of the 8th of December. In my judgment it constitutes as sound a basis for a