CAMP NEAR P. MCNEEL'S PLANTATION,
January 2, 1864.
Captain L. G. ALDRICH,
A. A. G., Eastern Sub-Dist., McNeel's Plantation, Tex.:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt your communication of this date,* and in reply beg leave to state that I regret exceedingly that I could not, under the circumstances, attack the enemy, to have done which, in their position, would have been rashness in the extreme, in my opinion. The probabilities of a defeat were very great, and to have sustained a defeat in the first action with troops who had never before been under fire would have done an incalculable injury to the cause. I do not think it judicious to send a force down the peninsula to collect the horses lost by Captain Henderson's command. On the contrary, I think it would be dangerous to do so. Arrangements have been made with citizens to recover them if possible.
There was no necessity for Captain Henderson to have lost his horses, as I had scouts and couriers who went through to his camp and returned to my command in safety, and the object of my expedition down the peninsula being to save these scouts and Captain Henderson's command. Captain Henderson might have returned via the peninsula, as my scouts were with him when he left for Matagorda. He might, when he left, have shot the horses to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy. From the best information that can be obtained, the enemy already have possession of them, but measures have been taken to secure any that may have escaped.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade, Second Division.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST LOUISIANA,
Alexandria, January 2, 1864.
Brigadier General W. R. BOGGS,
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose a copy of communication to Brigadier-General Mouton, in reply to one from him inclosing copies of correspondence* with Colonel Harrison and Captain West, assistant adjutant-general on the staff of the lieutenant-general commanding, the originals of which have been forwarded directly to department headquarters. The plan proposed for the crossing of the arms is the one most likely to succeed and divides the risk. The signal station near Rodney, maintained for some months past under the charge of Lieutenant Routh, signal officer, has been broken up by the enemy. Lieutenant Routh reached here alone and reports the capture of his party, consisting of 7 men, and all his signal property, he alone escaping. Lieutenant Routh has been directed to report to the signal officer at Shreveport by letter. I respectfully ask that he be relieved from duty here. I desire to call the attention of the lieutenant-general commanding again to the subject of our defenses on the lower river. The scarcity of tools and labor still
* Not found.