expect to get off on Wednesday or Thursday next, leaving General Russel to bring up the rear. This is in accordance with the suggestion of General Sheridan, who asked me to come with the bulk of my troops. It this approved?
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, May 27, 1865.
Major General P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Chief of Staff, Hdqrs. Military Division of West Mississippi:
GENERAL: In replay to your communication of the 15th instant, directing inspection of the posts on the Mississippi River within my command, with a view to the immediate reduction of their garrisons to the lowest minimum sufficient to hold them, also a report of the number of troops which could be spared after the above reduction for service in the field, I have he honor to report as follows: In the Southern Division of Louisiana the troops between Bayou Manchac and Camp Parapet have been withdraw, except one company of cavalry at the telegraph station opposite Plaquamine to protect it against marauding parties and to have an eye to the general police of the coast, and one opposite Donaldsonville for the same purpose. Bonnet Carre Bend and Pass Manchac have been evacuated, and the ordnance and garrisons withdrawn with the exception of an infantry picket at Pass Manchac for railroad police purposes. The fortifications and armament at Camp Parapet should remain as at present until peace is permanently established. Forts Pike, Macomb, Jackson, and Saint Philip to remain as at present also. On the west side of the river no reduction of posts is recommended. Should and expedition move into the country west of Berwick By and the Atchafalaya River, covering the District of La Fourche, almost the entire force stationed in that district could be made available for the field. In the Northern Division of Louisiana, owing to the high state of the water, the post of Morganza has been evacuated. The troops were transferred to Bayou Sara. The country about this post being perfectly quit, these troops have been removed to Baton Rouge. Fort Port Hudson one regiment of colored infantry and the company of heavy artillery now there will be a sufficient garrison. The two batteries and the regiment of colored cavalry a in excess of the above, can be removed. For garrison at Baton Rouge I would recommend the Sixty-fifth U. S. Colored Infantry, or any regiment of colored infantry, or provost and guard duty, and one regiment of cavalry (the One hundred and eighteenth Illinois (mounted) Infantry) for service in the back country. The three companies of heavy artillery should be retained as part of the garrison to care for the forts, public buildings, ordinances and ordnance stores to be collected there. These reductions can be made at once and the forces concentrated for trans-portations to such points as they may be ordered. The instructions regarding the employment on garrison duty of troops whose terms of service expire within three or four months have been complied with. Inclosed I have the honor to forward a list of the troops, enumerating the organizations, made available for field service by the above reductions in posts and garrisons.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,