of the starving garrison of the Port.
In a campaign, Dick Taylor
always seemed to deal in surprises, even to his friends.
His instant grasp of a situation; his power of quick concentration; his sudden appearances, with that other gift of masking his designs in the face of an enemy, made him an enigma among the commanders of Louisiana
On July 4th, reporting his success in southern Louisiana
, he said, ‘I have used every exertion to relieve Port Hudson
and shall continue to the last.’
But on that very day Vicksburg
He then clearly saw that the loss of Vicksburg
was sure to bring with it that of Port Hudson
's plan of relief had thus received an immediate quietus.
Even a sudden dash upon New Orleans, a surprise never long couchant in his mind—was unwillingly deferred under advice of Gen. Kirby Smith
Returning to the Atchafalaya
resolved to fight the enemy on his first advance—a resolve brilliantly put in execution on the Lafourche, as narrated in the previous chapter.
himself was absolutely without illusions.
He felt assured that if Banks
meant to overrun Louisiana
it was within his power to do so. He saw in the rise of the Mississippi
, and Atchafalaya rivers
an added proof that he could send his gunboats and transports into the very heart of western Louisiana
On his side, Kirby Smith
, writing from Shreveport
on July 12th, had ex-pressed his satisfaction with Taylor
's operations up to that date.
rather took the sugar-coating from his praise, adding that Taylor
's only course was to proceed with his troops to Niblett's Bluff
on the Sabine
An admirable point was this bluff to threaten the enemy's communication with Texas
; but in Taylor
's eye, single to his State's interest, one acre of the soil of west Louisiana
looked larger than the whole State of Texas
, vastest of the Confederacy
The campaign of 1863 on the Mississippi
had then already been ended.
and Port Hudson
had protectingly stood above a closed Mississippi