order directing it to report to you and be assigned to Gano's brigade. With reference to what part of your force shall be kept on your front, and what portion shall be concentrated as heretofore directed, the lieutenant-general leaves the decision to yourself. He thinks it probable that Gano's brigade with Martin's regiment will be all your disposable force.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant and Aide-de-Camp.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST LOUISIANA,
Natchitoches, March 21, 1864-2 a.m.
Colonel S. S. ANDERSON,
I had the honor of forwarding to you yesterday evening a letter from Major E. Surget, assistant adjutant-general, to me, written yesterday morning at 3 o'clock, stating that a large number of transports (forty-seven) were reported at Alexandria; that Banks was expected to arrive, and that the cavalry force from below was entering the town; also, that it was reported that the enemy would advance yesterday by boat up the river and with cavalry up Bayou Rapides. I have nothing later from below. I have just returned from Grand Ecore. Captain McCloskey was about leaving on the steamer Frolic to go up in person to superintend taking the New Falls City to Scopern's Cut-off and sinking her there. He requested me to say to you that the lieutenant-general commanding might rely on his obstructing the river at the point designated; that if anything prevented his getting the New Falls City up that he would sink some other boat or boats there. I sent an officer last night to hurry forward the two siege guns. It is expected that all the boats at Grand Ecore will be off by to-morrow morning at 8 o'clock. They are taking stores,&c., on board to-night.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. H. MAY,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HOUSTON, March 21.1864.
Colonel J. S. FORD:
I am directed, &c., to urge upon you the necessity of pushing forward your movements as rapidly as practicable. The evacuation of Indianola and the other points on the coast, and the transfer of the troops to Louisiana, where the campaign has already opened, thus far disastrously to us, will leave the post of Brownsville to be defended by its regular garrison. Obtain all information you can, and if, in your judgment, upon the spot, you consider yourself able to cope with them, drive them out of the country; if possible, to obtain possession of the steamers of Stillman & Kennedy. He further directs that you cultivate the most friendly relations with the French, should they obtain possession of the country opposite. He offers these as suggestions; you, from a near view of the position, can better judge as to the practicability of them than he can who is so far remote.
L. G. ALDRICH,