War of the Rebellion: Serial 062 Page 0689 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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Alexandria, March 22, 1864.

Major-General BANKS,

Commanding Department of the Gulf, New Orleans:

The rebels came within 7 miles last night, burning cotton and forage. A reconnaissance in force of 3,000 infantry, a brigade of cavalry, and two batteries started this morning up the Rapides Bayou, General Mower commanding. They found the enemy 10 miles out and skirmished, driving the enemy before them. General Mower reported to General Smith, at 2 p.m., the enemy in force in front with infantry, artillery, and cavalry, and asked for more force. General Smith is sending forward another division of infantry and two regiments more of General Lee's cavalry. It is now 3.30 p.m., and I have no further information. My impression is that the force in front of Mower consists of Green's cavalry and Polignac's infantry and artillery. Dudley's brigade, which was guarding the north of the town, has already re-enforced Mower with a portion of his command.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Chief of Staff.

P. S.-Colonel Sargent, who accompanied the force, was wounded in the thigh. It is a flesh wound, but a severe one-not dangerous.

C. P. S.

(Copy sent by telegraph from Port Hudson.)


Alexandria, March 22, 1864.

Major General N. P. BANKS,

Commanding Department of the Gulf, New Orleans:

The reconnaissance under General Mower pushed out 21 miles on the Bayou Rapides road to Natchitoches, met the enemy in some force turned his flank, and captured 4 pieces of artillery with their caissons, some prisoners, and a large number of horses and mules. He learns that Walker is within 6 miles of the point he reached, and Taylor within 12 miles; force not known. Our scouts up the Red River road yesterday captured 6 of the Second Louisiana Cavalry. The enemy have corn depots established every 15 miles on the road from Cotile Bayou to Burr's Ferry across the Sabine. This can only mean one of two things, taken in connection within their making a stand yesterday; either they are expecting succor from Magruder, which is reported, and are desirous of covering the road prepared for him, or Walker and Taylor intend to retreat by the short line to Texas.

I would earnestly advise that Franklin should immediately diverge to his left, and occupy a point near where the skirmish of last night took place, to enable the cavalry to make a vigorous and thorough pursuit in case of the retreat of the enemy, and to take Magruder in detail should he advance. I can see no advantage in bringing Franklin to this town. The other disposition of his force would give great immediate advantage, and place him 20 miles on the line to your