effective except in cases of extreme emergency. A majority of them are in the country surrounding, and are preparing for spring work on their farms. They are not then of any practicable value at this place.
Trusting that this may meet with your favorable consideration, I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. L. PRITCHARD,
Major, Commanding Station.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, Steamer Diana, under motion, March 4, 1864.
Major General N. P. BANKS,
Commanding Department of the Gulf, New Orleans:
GENERAL: I had the honor to receive your letter of the 2nd instant yesterday at New Orleans, but was unable to answer it except verbally, and I now reduce it to writing.
I will arrive at Vicksburg the 6th instant, and I expect to meet there my command from Canton, out of which I will select two divisions of about 10,000 men, embark them under a good commander, and order him, first, to rendezvous at the mouth of Red River and, in concert with Admiral Porter (if he agree), to strike Harrisonburg a hard blow; second, to return to Red River and ascend it, aiming to reach Alexandria on March 17 to report to you; third, that this command, designed to operate by water, will not be encumbered with land transportation, say two wagons to a regiment, but with an ample supply of stores, including mortars and heavy rifled guns, to be used against fortified places; fourth, that AI calculate, and so report to General Grant, that this detachment of his forces in no event go beyond Shreveport, and that you spare them the moment you can, trying to get them back to the Mississippi in thirty days from the time they actually enter Red River. The year is wearing away fast, and I would like to carry to General Grant, at Huntsville, Ala., every man of his division as early in April as possible, as I am sure we ought to move from the base of the Tennessee River to the south before the season is too far advanced-say April 15 next.
I feel certain of your complete success, provided you make the concentration in time, to assure which I will see in person to the embarkation and dispatch of my quota, and I will write to General Steele, conveying to him my personal and professional opinion that the present opportunity is the most perfect one that will ever offer itself to him to clear out his enemies.
Wishing you all honor and succes, I am, with respect, your friend and servant,
W. T. SHERMAN,
PORT HUDSON, LA., March 4, 1864-12 m.
Nothing of importance to report this morning. The cavalry skirmish resulted in our los of 2 men, prisoners. The enemy lost 1 killed and 1 prisoner.
GEO. L. ANDREWS,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers.