full encounter was had with the advance of the enemy two days since by a portion of General A. J. Smith's command under General Mower, assisted by a brigade of Lee's cavalry, an account of which you have seen.
The enemy will not meet us this side of Natchitoches, and probably not this side of Shreveport, in force. General Steele is reported to be at Camden on his way from Little Rock to Shreveport. At New Orleans everything should be maintained as near the present position as possible. All intercourse with people beyond the lines should be prohibited, and especially in this direction, until our position in Northern Louisiana can be more definitely established. Care should be taken that the prisoners sent down should be securely kept, and no intercourse allowed whatever with the people. No paroles should be given. Except for the chance of making exchanges for our prisoners now held in Texas, I should be glad to have them sent North, but they had better be detained for the present. There was a severe storm yesterday, but to-day the weather is fair, and the column will advance to-morrow.,
With much respect, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
Alexandria, March 25, 1864
Brigadier General A. J. SMITH,
Commanding Detach. 16th and 17th Army Corps:
GENERAL: The major-general commanding desires that you move your command to-morrow morning at 7 o'clock by the Bayou Rapides road to a point above and near the upper junction of the Bayou Rapides and Red River, there to await further orders. The Fourth Brigade of the Cavalry Division has been ordered to take the same road at 6 a.m. to-morrow, and its commander will report to you on the march for instructions, and remain under your orders while you hold the indicated position.
Very respectfully, I am, general, your obedient servant,
CHAS. P. STONE,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.
HDQRS. DETACH. 16TH AND 17TH ARMY CORPS
Alexandria, La, March 25, 1864
Brigadier General C. P. STONE,
Chief of Staff, Dept. of the Gulf, Alexandria, La.:
GENERAL: My scouts have returned and report the bridge 6 miles from here on the river road burned. In going out I will take the bayou road, and can make the distance by 10 a.m. Sunday-28 miles.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. J. SMITH,
The following is an accurate map* as to distances and bridges. The bayou is tortuous, and of course not properly represented.
*See p. 725.