HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST LOUISIANA,
Alexandria, February 26, 1864.
Brigadier General W. R. BOOGS,
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication (Numbers 2081) of the 23rd instant. While I am myself opposed as a general rule to the creation of new organizations, still I am so fully convinced that the organization of the regiment of mounted men recommended in my letter of the 2nd instant would redound to the good of the service, and presents the only means whereby a large number of men can be placed in the army, that I beg leave respectfully and urgently to renew that recommendation, and request that the requisite authorization may be forwarded to me.
A large number of the men who would constitute the proposed regiment are from the enemy's lines, and while the majority are not actually within their lines, they live in that portion of the district which is contiguous thereto and may be regarded as debatable ground.
In the section of the district known as the Calcasieu and Mermentou county, and in the pine woods extending therefrom to Sabine Parsih, there are large bodies of desertes and recusant conscripts whom it would require a large cavalry brigade to break up or force into service. Indeed, their nearness to the enemy, facility of reaching them, and the influence which their strength exercises upon the minds of the people of those neighborhoods render it impossible, with the limited cavalry force in my command, to bring these recusants into service. By granting the authorization which I am so anxious to obtain I am satisfied that a large regiment and an effective one of mounted men will be raised in a very short time, and not only my wants in respect of mounted men will be supplied, but with their aid I shall be enabled to bring the deserters and recusant conscripts into the service, when they can be assigned to the old organizations, and thus the double object will be accomplished. In this matter delay may be fatal, and a cavalry raid by the enemy may defeat both these objects and cut us off from securing several thousand men for our army.
With the vastly superior cavalry force which the enemy, both in and near the northern and southern portions of this State, can throw upon us such an advance is by no means impossible, and to resist it I have only about 900 mounted men in North Louisiana, and in Southern Louisiana the Second Louisiana Cavalry Regiment, and a few detached or independent companies-a force wholly inadequate to my wants.
Colonel Bush, who is recommended as a suitable officer to raise and command this regiment, has admirable qualifications for the position, and some time ago procured the authority from the Secretary of War to raise a new regiment in this district, subject to the approval of the lieutenant-general commanding the department and the district commander in Western Louisiana. Regarding the matter as of pressing importance, and satisfied that the best interests of the service will be promoted by granting the authorization, I trust the lieutenant-general commanding will consider the reasons which are herein stated as sufficient to justify him in approving my recom-