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[540] with the enemy. Colonel Shaw, crossing Red River, set out—on his own account, it was said—to march to its relief at the head of a thousand men. It is asserted that Banks, having met him at the head of his force, and having thus learned of his expedition, gave it his sanction in a dilatory order. A battery of Southern artillery, reinforced by a part of Liddell's cavalry, had taken position on the left bank of Red River near Campti and cannonaded Smith's transports. The latter, continually aground and having only two ships of war to support them, found it hard to reply. But as soon as the Confederates were informed of the approach of Shaw, who had crossed the river and was advancing up the left bank, they beat a hurried retreat, and Smith arrived that same evening at Grand Écore without suffering further annoyance. The Confederate cavalry restricted itself to watching the positions taken by the Federal army around the town, and Bee, who commanded it in the interim, established his headquarters at Natchitoches.

Such was the feeble barrier that sufficed to check the Federal forces, for there was trouble among the generals, discontent among the rank and file. Banks had lost the confidence of his army. He was aware of the fact, and worried over it, but made no effort to regain that confidence. He had felt the need of two scapegoats. On the one hand, he had taken from Lee the command of the cavalry and given it to General Arnold; on the other, the brave but unfortunate General Stone, who was not responsible for the mistakes committed in the campaign, but who had not yet outlived the memories of Ball's Bluff, was deposed and General Dwight appointed in his place. Franklin had profited by his wound to keep in his tent, and A. J. Smith spoke openly of putting Banks under arrest and getting rid of him by sending him North under escort. The army was accordingly in no condition to resume offensive operations. The decided check encountered in the campaign could no longer be a matter of doubt to any one.

The waters of Red River instead of rising had perceptibly fallen. Finally, the date fixed by Grant for Smith's return was at hand. The latter had found at Grand Écore a peremptory order from Sherman to return to Vicksburg, so that Banks was obliged to take it upon himself to detain him and assume the

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