I had four steamboats unloading until the moment of the fight, and I then sent them up the river. They have all escaped, as the hartford was too badly damaged to pursue. I request that you send them back with corn as soon as the enemy passes beyond the Red Rive, which I suppose will be the case in a day or two.
We have only ten days' allowance of corn.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major General RICHARD TAYLOR,
Comdg. District of Western Louisiana, Alexandria, La.
PORT HUDSON, March 17, 1863.
Enemy have landed from four transports on opposite side of the river. Are bombarding us slowly from long range. Land troops entirely withdrawn.
Port Hudson, La., March 18, 1863.
GENERAL: I desire yo to move out immediately with one battery (without caissons) and the infantry of your brigade (except two regiments to be left at the breastworks), but Plain's Store and on the Baton Rouge road, to skirmish with the enemy's advance. I have ordered Maxey's brigade on the Springfield road, and you must endeavor to find his position. My object is not to attack the enemy with my whole force outside, but to interfere with his advance and cause him to develop his troops. If anything can be effected within about 9 miles of this place I will send you support if necessary. Send me in frequent written reports and let me know precisely where it would be necessary to send any support. Move cautiously; keep your skirmishers well in your front.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. S. - You can make use of the cavalry on the road.