the Washita Valley by superior numbers, to fall back on Red river to Natchitoches. I am now engaged in burning all the cotton I can reach, from Lake Providence to the lower end of Concordia Parish, and shall endeavor to leave no spoil for the enemy. I have also instructed the cavalry to destroy all subsistence and forage on abandoned plantations, that, from its proximity to the river, may give the enemy facilities for invasion. When this destruction is effected, I shall withdraw the greater portion of my forces towards the Washita River, to some more healthy locality. The ravages of disease have fearfully weakened my force, and I consider it essential to its future usefulness that it should be removed from here as early as practicable. I am, Major, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
Report of Major-General Taylor.
Major: Your despatches of the tenth and eleventh came to hand. I had received from New Orleans news of the fall of Vicksburg. I trust the doubt you express may be well founded. Port Hudson surrendered on the ninth instant, literally from starvation. The plan I had arranged for an attack on New Orleans fell through, as soon as I was advised that Walker's division would not join me. My active force (not including the garrison of this place) is less than four thousand. That the plan referred to would have succeeded, any time before the ninth instant, I do not entertain the slightest doubt. Whether the city could have been held is another question. The fall of Port Hudson, and the almost certain fate of Vicksburg, render my present position in the Lafouche extremely hazardous, and not to be justified on any military grounds. The defences of this bay are far from satisfactory; and the entrance of a hostile fleet would ruin my little army. The enemy will doubtless throw troops across the Atchafalaya at Morgan's ferry, twenty-eight miles from Washington. He has already a brigade in the Grasse Tete. I cannot hope to unite with the forces now in north Louisiana; and the whole country between this point and Monroe is open. Since the communications of General Johnston led me to look forward to the fall of Vicksburg, I have been forming depots on the line from Lafayette to Niblett's bluff. In case I abandon this country, I expect to follow this line, and you will lay your plans regarding the limited amount of public property at Alexandria accordingly. I send, to-day, a staff officer to Morgan's ferry, to watch and report the enemy's movements. The reports will be forwarded also to you. You will take steps to secure early and accurate information of the enemy's movements on lower Red River and at Simmsport. Where is General Polignac's brigade? Is it armed and ready for service? At junction of the Huffpower and Boeuf, or on the latter, near Washington, as the enemy may move, would be the place for it. Communicate the contents of this to department headquarters. I have no staff officer with me, and am fatigued and jaded beyond description. Respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. Taylor, Major-General.P. S.--Nothing of the boats, which left Alexandria on the seventh ultimo. Afraid they have come to grief on the Atchafalaya.
R. T. M. G. Major Surget, A. A. G.
Upon the foregoing report was the following endorsement:
Headquartes District Western Louisiana, Alexandria, July 17, 1863.Respecfully forwarded for the information of the Lieutenant-General commanding, with the remark, that the boats of which General Taylor speaks in the P. S., met the enemy's gunboats at the mouth of the Atchafalaya, and returned safely to this post
E. Surget, A. A. G.
headquarters District Western Louisiana, Lafourche, July 13, 1863General: I have the honor to announce a brilliant success gained by a portion of my forces under the command of Brigadier-General Green, over Weitzel and Dwight. The enemy, over four thousand strong, advanced to-day, six miles from Donaldsville, where he was met by General Green, with his own and a part of Major's brigade (in all twelve hundred men), and driven from the field, with a loss of about five hundred in killed and wounded, some three hundred prisoners, three pieces of artillery, many small arms, and the flag of a New York regiment. The gallant and noble Green dismounted from his horse, placed himself at the head of his old regiment, captured the enemy's guns, and drove his forces into the fort, and under the guns of the fleet. In the generalship and daring of the commander, and the devotion of the troops, this action will compare favorably with any I have witnessed during the war. Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General W. R. Boggs, Chief of Staff:R. Taylor, Major-General.
Report of Brigadier-General Green.
Ford and Davenport plantation, Saturday, June 27, 1863.General Mouton: I have been all the morning collecting together all the information relative to the situation and strength of the defences of Donaldsonville. After travelling all night we