Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 10.djvu/85

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CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

country was being rapidly drained of her able-bodied whites by conscription. He was not quite so pleased to hear that the Confederates could keep troops in the country, apart from its home people. However, he was far advanced in organizing a strong expedition to move through western Louisiana for the purpose of dispersing the force assembled there under Gen. Richard Taylor. He had already resolved upon placing the command under Weitzel.

On May 26, 1862, Department No. 2 had been extended to embrace east Louisiana, and the Trans-Mississippi department had been constituted, including west Louisiana. Gen. Paul O. Hebert, two days later, was assigned to the command of the district of West Louisiana and Texas, and on June 25th East Louisiana came under the department command of Gen. Braxton Bragg. On August 20th Maj.-Gen. Richard Taylor, already distinguished in the Virginia campaigns, was ordered to the command of the district of West Louisiana. Taylor was an unknown quantity for Butler. Banks was to learn him thoroughly, and to his painful cost before another year. Another Arminius, Taylor loved to fight on his State's soil against his State's foes.

This territory of western Louisiana was destined to become a Belgium for both forces. Each, in turn, was to occupy, to lose, to regain it. None of the early battles was to be distinguished for large armies, or for heavy lists of killed or wounded. There were many skirmishes, some large; the most, however, both small and unimportant. Throughout them all the controlling design of General Butler was, in bringing the people back into the Union, to retain possession of the profits from the cultivation of its fertile, alluvial fields. Weitzel with a compact army was then operating about the Lafourche. With him on the lookout, his superior felt reasonably easy in mind.

If General Butler employed most of his time in address-