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h a view of getting command of the waters, by which our gunboats could reach Red River, and communicate with the forces, naval and military, at Vicksburg, and cut off the supplies of the enemy west of the Mississippi. The first effort to accomplish this was made in an unsuccessful endeavor to open the Bayou Plaquemine, which communicated with the Atchafalaya near Butte à la Rose. The command of Brigadier-General Weitzel, on Berwick's Bay, had been increased, the first and second week in January, to forty-five hundred men, with a view to operations upon the Teche, for the purpose of destroying the works and dispersing the forces of the enemy on that bayou. On the eleventh of January he made a successful invasion of the Teche country, repulsed the forces of the enemy, and destroyed the gunboat Cotton. This relieved Berwick's Bay from the danger of an attack by the enemy's most formidable gunboat, in case our forces, naval and military, moved up the Atchafalaya toward Butte á la Ro
ed miles distant, with purposes and results entirely unknown to me. February fifth, I was informed by General Steele that if any advance was to be made, it must be by the Wachita and Red Rivers, and that he might be able to move his command by the way of Pine Bluff, to Monroe, for this purpose. This would have united our forces on Red River, and insured the success of the campaign. The twenty-eighth of February, he informed me that he could not move by the way of Monroe, and on the fourth of March, the day before my command was ordered to move, I was informed by General Sherman that he had written to General Steele to push straight to Shreveport. March fifth, I was informed by General Halleck, that he had no information of General Steele's plans, further than that he would be directed to facilitate my operations toward Shreveport. The tenth of March, General Steele informed me that the objections to the route I wished him to take (by the way of Red River) were stronger than eve
Weitzel, moving up the Atchafalaya, with that of General Emory, moving from the Mississippi by Bayou Plaquemine, their forces joining near Butte á la Rose. This attempt failed on account of the complete stoppage of Bayou Plaquemine by three years accumulation of drift logs and snags, filling the bayou from the bed of the stream, and rendering it impenetrable to our boats, and requiring the labor of months to open it for navigation. The troops were engaged in this work most of the month of February. During the operations on Bayou Plaquemine and the Atchafalaya, news was received of the capture by the enemy of the steamers Queen of the west and De Soto, which had run past the batteries at Vicksburg. This event was deemed of sufficient importance, by Admiral Farragut, to demand the occupation of the Mississippi between Port Hudson and Vicksburg, by running the batteries on the river at Port Hudson, in order to destroy these boats, and cut off the enemy's communication by the Red Riv
ry, he informed me that he could not move by the way of Monroe, and on the fourth of March, the day before my command was ordered to move, I was informed by General Sherman that he had written to General Steele to push straight to Shreveport. March fifth, I was informed by General Halleck, that he had no information of General Steele's plans, further than that he would be directed to facilitate my operations toward Shreveport. The tenth of March, General Steele informed me that the objectionsed him to take (by the way of Red River) were stronger than ever, and that he would move with all his available force (about seven thousand) to Washington, and thence to Shreveport. I received information the twenty-sixth of March, dated the fifth of March, from Major-General Halleck, that he had directed General Steele to make a real move, as suggested by you, (Banks,) instead of a demonstration as he (Steele) thought advisable. In April, General Halleck informed me that he had telegraphed Ge
as, (positions which, under instructions from the President, and subsequently from Lieutenant-General Grant, were not to be abandoned,) at New Orleans, and at Port Hudson, which was threatened by a vigorous and active enemy. Smaller garrisons at Baton Rouge and Donaldsonville, on the river, and at Pensacola and Key West, on the coast, constituted the balance of forces under my command. It had been arranged that the troops concentrated at Franklin should move for the Red River on the seventh of March, to meet the forces of General Sherman at Alexandria on the seventeenth. But for causes stated by General Franklin, their march was delayed until the thirteenth, at which time the advance under General A. L. Lee left Franklin, the whole column following soon after, and arriving at Alexandria — the cavalry on the nineteenth, and the infantry on the twenty-fifth. On the thirteenth of March, 1864, one division of the Sixteenth corps, under Brigadier-General Mower, and one division of t
March 18th (search for this): chapter 89
ly two divisions, one of the Sixteenth and one of the Seventeenth, in all about ten thousand men, to the mouth of Red River. From that point this command moved to De Russy, when it again took transports and joined Banks at Alexandria on the eighteenth March. General A. J. Smith commanded the two divisions. It preceded Banks three or four days. It landed at Simmsport March twelve. At that time, the distribution of our forces was as follows: In Louisiana, General Taylor had two divisions of inf above Alexandria, but soon moved eighteen miles farther back, to Carroll Jones's, with his infantry. Meanwhile Banks, with twenty-five thousand men of all arms, drove Vincent up the Teche, and joined Sherman (Smith) at Alexandria about the eighteenth March. Every exertion was made to hurry up Green's cavalry from Texas; but it moved very slowly, and did not all reach General Taylor till about fifth April. General Liddell was ordered down into the country north and east of Alexandria, between
March 12th (search for this): chapter 89
ritical juncture. It was expected that Sherman would move from Vicksburg or Natchez. Instead of that, however, he sent only two divisions, one of the Sixteenth and one of the Seventeenth, in all about ten thousand men, to the mouth of Red River. From that point this command moved to De Russy, when it again took transports and joined Banks at Alexandria on the eighteenth March. General A. J. Smith commanded the two divisions. It preceded Banks three or four days. It landed at Simmsport March twelve. At that time, the distribution of our forces was as follows: In Louisiana, General Taylor had two divisions of infantry, and one thousand five hundred or two thousand cavalry in detachments. Walker's division, consisting of Randal's, Waul's, and Scurvey's brigades, was posted from Fort De Russy down Bayou De Glaize to Simmsport. Mouton's division, consisting of Polignac's and Grey's brigades, was divided--one brigade near Alexandria, and the other on its way to Alexandria: from Trinit
March 13th (search for this): chapter 89
river at Port Hudson, in order to destroy these boats, and cut off the enemy's communication by the Red River with Vicksburg and Port Hudson, thus accomplishing, by a swifter course, the object of our campaign west of the river. The army was called upon to make a demonstration against the fortifications at Port Hudson, while the fleet should run the batteries upon the river. All the disposable force of the department was moved to Baton Rouge for this purpose, early in March. On the thirteenth of March the troops moved out to the rear of Port Hudson, about twelve thousand strong. The pickets of the enemy were encountered near Baton Rouge, and a considerable force in the vicinity of Port Hudson, which was quickly driven in. The army reached the rear of the works on the night of the fourteenth, and made a demonstration as for an attack on the works the next morning. The arrangement between the Admiral and myself was, that the passage of the batteries by the navy should be attempted
March 14th (search for this): chapter 89
force, compared to it, was as four to ten, fell back up the Bayou De Glaize to a point near Fort De Russy, and thence moved to Evergreen, about thirty miles south of Alexandria, where he was joined by General Taylor with Mouton's division. Meanwhile General Walker had left the garrison at Fort De Russy to its fate, as he considered it impossible, from the nature of the ground and the preponderance of the enemy's force, to cover or support the place. It fell, with its garrison, on the fourteenth March by a land attack. General Taylor estimated the strength of this column at twenty-three thousand men. Immediately after the fall of Fort De Russy, the enemy occupied Alexandria. General Taylor was thrown off into the Pine hills, and took the road leading up Red River. He halted a short time at McNutt's Hill, twelve miles above Alexandria, but soon moved eighteen miles farther back, to Carroll Jones's, with his infantry. Meanwhile Banks, with twenty-five thousand men of all arms, drov
March 15th (search for this): chapter 89
eneral command of the army which caused a modification of my instructions in regard to this expedition. Lieutenant-General Grant, in a despatch dated the fifteenth of March, which I received on the twenty-seventh of March, at Alexandria, eight days before we reached Grand Ecore, by special messenger, gave me the following instrlabama River, with General Sherman, precisely in accordance with the campaign suggested by the Lieutenant-General commanding the armies, in his despatches of the fifteenth and thirty-first of March, when I received instructions to communicate with the Admiral and the general officers commanding the fleet, and forces of the Upper Miroaches from Natchez and Vicksburg. Green's cavalry, although ordered to move two weeks before this, did not leave the vicinity of Hempstead, Texas, till the fifteenth March, and did not reach General Taylor till between the first and fifth of April. The strength of the column which landed at Simmsport was, as it usually is, over
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