War of the Rebellion: Serial 062 Page 0948 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter XLVI.

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train of wagons, which shall be so constructed that the beds shall be boats. These can be used in ferrying the arms across the Mississippi. I will see that these wagons are made for you and provided with teams; the drivers you must send me, as I have no men to spare. I will also furnish your escort with horses and their equipments. I would furnish the men if I had them. An arrangement of this kind places your success in the securing your arms upon the best footing, as it makes your affairs independent of those aids which the events passing around us will not always allow me to render. I will also, at such times as the state of affairs around me will allow, give assistance to your escort should a stronger force at any time be required. I am very desirous of co-operating with you at all times in any plans for the common defense and shall be glad to know at any time how that can be effected.

I remain, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General.

ALEXANDRIA, LA., February 7, 1864.

Major-General WALKER, Commanding Division:

GENERAL: I have just learned from General Holmes that some forty or fifty transports recently passed Gaines' Landing laden with troops. Vicksburg and Red River were supposed to be their destination. Per contra, it is certain that Banks has moved a considerable force to Pascagoula, 40 miles from Mobile, and Farragut is actively preparing eight light iron-clads for service. Transports are also being collected in the lakes east of New Orleans. I have seen Grant's letter to Stanton recommending a movement on Atlanta with their whole force, and proposing to give up all minor objects. Certainly Grant will not consent to send troops west of the Mississippi until his projected campaign for Georgia and Alabama is over.

On the other hand, Banks will probably desire to operate west, in order to avoid being within the sphere of Grant's influence. Unless he abandons the Texas expedition, Banks alone can effect little in this quarter. He cannot possibly have over 12,000 effective men, from which we must subtract the lake expeditions to Pascagoula, &c. There is also some force assembling at Ship Island. I trust your scouts will be enabled to report any movement of troops on the river. It is safe to assume that the enemy's plans look to this quarter, and be as well prepared as our means allow to meet them.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. TAYLOR,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY FORCES,

San Antonio, February 7, 1864.

Captain E. P. TURNER,

Asst. Adjt. General, C. S. Army, Major General Magruder's Hdqrs.:

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that there is nothing new from the front. Major Rogers is in command on the Nueces. He says:

You cannot imagine hw desolate, barren, and desert-like this country is; not a spear of grass, nor a green shrub, with nothing but moving clouds of sand to be seen on these once green prairies.