Gen. Banks’ expedition up the Red River has ended in disaster. I received the following report from Sherman,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Nashville, Tenn., April 21, 1864
I have just received the following dispatch from General Corse, whom I sent to bring up my Red River command:
CAIRO, April 21, 1864-2.30 p.m.
Banks was attacked by Kirby Smith near Mansfield, La., on the 8th instant, and retreated to Grand Ecore a la Bull Run. He refused to let Smith, go, for obvious reasons, stating, however, that he had authority from both Generals Grant and Halleck to retain your troops longer. The admiral’s iron-clads are caught by low water, some above the bars at Grand Ecore, the rest above the falls, and he not only refuses to consent to the removal of Smith, but refused to allow him a transport to take him out of the river, stating that to take Smith away would occasion the loss of his fleet, the utter destruction of General Banks’ demoralized command, and enable the enemy to crush General Steele. I have communications from General Banks and Admiral Porter, and will be with you as speedily as possible.
JOHN M. CORSE,
W. T. SHERMAN,
I also was sent by Sec. Stanton a copy of a similar report from Gen. Brayman. I wrote Gen. Halleck,
CULPEPER, VA., April 22, 1864-12 m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Chief of Staff:
You can see from General Brayman’s dispatch to me something of General Banks’ disaster. I have been satisfied for the last nine months that to keep General Banks in command was to neutralize a large force and to support it most expensively. Although I do not insist upon it, I think the best interests of service demand that General Reynolds should be placed in command at once and that he names his own successor to the command of New Orleans.
U. S. GRANT,
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 340-1
O.R., I, xxxii, part 3, p 437
O.R., I, xxxiv, part 3, p 252-3