To Nathaniel P. Banks

Major Gener Banks             Executive Mansion,
My dear Sir:                           Washington, [January 23?] 1863.

In superseding you, by returning Gen. Butler to command the Department of the Gulf, I have trusted that you will not understand me as being even indifferent to your feelings and your honor. I would be as careful of yours as of my own.

I have issued the proclamation, which, like most measures has two sides to its effects. What is evil in effect we are already en during, and we must have the counterpart of it. For this last, as I think, there is no such place as Louisiana, and no such man as Gen. Butler. But to make the most of both, he must go with heart and will; and having been relieved from that Department it is a great point with him to be restored to it. In beginning the peculiar work alluded to there should not be another hour’s delay. Hence I send him at once. I sincerely hope the Mississippi may be opened by the time Gen. Butler reaches New-Orleans; but whether it shall be or not, he must go forward without more delay. That you shall make your independent expedition into Texas is still intended; but it can not be made so long as your force is needed on the Mississippi; and while needed there, it is my purpose that you retain the immediate command of it in it’s operation, although you are to report to Gen. Butler after his arrival. When your force, or a substantial and sufficient part of it can be spared from the Mississippi, you are to go to Texas with a department independent of Gen. Butler. His orders and instructions are drawn up with a view to, and in conformity with all this.

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