New Orleans, Louisiana
I received the following from General Banks:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, March 2, 1864
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Department of the Tennessee:
GENERAL: In order to insure the success of operations indicated by the General-in-Chief, I request that you will, if practicable, furnish a force of, say, 10,000 men, with a proper proportion of artillery, to proceed up the Red River in time to reach Alexandria, La., on or about the 17th instant, with supplies for thirty days. If this force should be able, with the assistance of the gun-boats, to strike Harrisonburg, on the Black River, before marching on Alexandria, it would be very desirable to have it done. My impression is that I shall be able to occupy Alexandria by the day stated.
Very respectfully, I am, general, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS, Major-General, Commanding
I took my departure from New Orleans in the Diana this evening and headed back to Vicksburg.