mander at Piedras Negras, I have made an arrangement with him to intercept letters and Yankee dispatches. The country below here is very dry. The Nueces is dry in many places.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST LOUISIANA,
Alexandria, February 8, 1864.
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: The transports mentioned by General Holmes have landed their men at Vicksburg. General Sherman is there in command. The number of troops brought down, some 12,000. General Gresham, recently commanding at Natchez, has gone to Vicksburg with two regiments, leaving a colonel at Natchez with a few white troops and a small brigade of negroes. Vicksburg is thus the base of Sherman's movement. Had be been en route for a point lower down the Mississippi Gresham would hardly have gone up to Vicksburg. Banks has recently moved considerable re-enforcements from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Recent information form New Orleans states that Farragut's expedition of light iron-clads is intended for Texas instead of Mobile.
Mobiel papers of the 25th ultimo say that the enemy has not occupied Pascagoula and that the belief is Mobile will not be attacked at present. I have advised General Magruder of the report about Farragut. Captain Boyd, engineer, was waylaid by jayhawkers between this place and Fort De Russy on Wednesday last, and has not since been heard from. A citizen has just informed me that he was carried to Natchez and sold to the Federals. I do not know how much reliance to place on the statement.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
ALEXANDRIA, LA., February 8, 1864.
GENERAL: Sherman has reached Vicksburg with some 12,000 men. Gresham, lately commanding at Natchez, has gone up to Vicksburg with two regiments, leaving but two regiments of whites and the negroes to garrison Natchez. Vicksburg is, then, as base for active operations. Had the designs been to move below Vicksburg it is not probable that Gresham would have been ordered up the river to the point. Neither is it probable that Grant would operate west of the Mississippi with two corps. My opinion is that Sherman will move east from Vicksburg and attempt to reach the Mobile and Ohio Railroad and the Tombigbee River. This would have an important influence on the Georgia campaign. Connected with this movement Banks may threaten Mobile, but I do not believe he will subordinate his plans to Grant's if he can avoid it.
I have Texas news to the 3rd instant. No movement of the enemy reported. General Smith is there, and would let me know if he