late sudden rise of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya overflowed the swamps the rough the numerous breaks in the levees. The rivers are falling so slowly that we cannot hope to move through the swamps for a month at least, and even them if we have much rain. The lower Grossetete is completely inundated, and all approach to Plaquemine except by the river road is interrupted. Nothing but the narrow script of high ground along the Bayous Fordoche and upper Crossetete is practicable. The present of the Nineteenth Corps at Morganza and the high water in the Atchafalaya render it unwise to throw many troops over the latter stream, unless in force sufficient to beat the Nineteenth Corps. This would requite troops of all arms, and unwilling to march the infantry such a distance merely to occupy temporarily the narrow strip of land above mentioned. Accordingly dispositions are being made for a Mississippi campaign.
Walker's Division will camp 2 miles south of La Croix's Ferry, on Little River, where there is fine water. A pontoon will be thrown over the river and another prepared at La Croix's, an another between that point and Columbia. Polignac will camp near Fort De Russy, ready to move to la Croix's. Most of the cavalry will be encamped from the Opelousas prairie toward Alexandria along the Boeuf where the pasture is good. I respectfully recommend that every boat on Red River be taken up by the chief Quarters at Shreveport at once and sent to Alexandria with forage. If a good supply of forage is accumulated at the latter point before the river falls, it will much simplify the northern campaign. Major Levy, in his late interview with Colonel Dwight, the Federal commissioner of exchange, obtained an acknowledgment of the prisoners captured by me at Brashear City last summer and so improperly returned to duty be General Banks. Lists of these paroled and delivered to the commander of the Federal outposts are being made out. The number will reach some 1,500. For these I propose to exchange a portion of General Thomas' brigade if it meets the approval of the general commanding the department. This will give Polignac a respectable division. The Second Louisiana Cavalry, Bush's regiment, and Harrison's command, now at Shreveport, with two or there companies of lower Louisiana if Governor Allen will permit the State, Guard to co-operate thoroughly.
This, however, involves the necessity of finding a commander to rank Colonel Vincent. I ordered this officer to report to department headquarters, hoping that some duty might be found for him. Colonel is a good soldier, and Lieutenant-Colonel Blair, of the Second Louisiana, one of the best I have ever met. I have tried Colonel Vincent for nearly two years and overlooked many of his failures. He is one of a class of officers than have done more harm to the service than many good soldiers can repair. Never coming exactly in reach of a court-martial, Colonel Vincent has never done andy duty satisfactorily. As I am ordered to place him in command of his regiment I ask that some competent officer be assigned to the command of the troops above mentioned. North of the Red River Colonel I. F. Harrison's brigade of three regiments and two batteries will amply suffice for the protection of the country. Colonel Harrison is a brave and energetic officer. I feel certain that he will speedily make a great change in the discipline of his command if he is permitted to regulate it. Many