way of Steele's Bayou, Black Bayou, Deer Creek, Rolling Fork, and the Sunflower. They got as far as Deer Creek without any great difficulty, but I fear a failure of getting farther. This experiment failing, there is nothing left for me but to collect all my strength and attack Haines' Bluff. This will necessarily be attended with much loss, but I think it can be done successfully.
The best aid you can give, if you cannot pass Port Hudson, will be to hold as many of the enemy there as possible. If they could be sent I could well spare one army corps, to enable you to get up the river. My effective force, including all arms, will be between 60,000 and 70,000, if I bring all from Memphis that can be spared in an emergency. An attack on Haines' Bluff cannot possibly take place under two weeks, if so soon. My forces are now scattered and the difficulty of getting transportation is very great.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,
[Inclosure No. 2.]
MARCH 23, 1863.
Commanding Gulf Squadron:
ADMIRAL: In the various notes I have written, including the dispatch for General Banks, I have not mentioned that soon after taking command there in person I collected my surplus troops at Lake Providence and directed the command officer of effect a passage through from the Mississippi River to Bayou Macon. This will give navigable water through by that route to the Red River. This is now reported practicable for ordinary Ohio River steamers. I sent several weeks ago for this class of steamers and expected them before this. Should they arrive, and Admiral Porter gets his boats out of the Yazoo, so as to accompany the expedition, I can send a force of, say, 20,000 effective men to co-operate with General Banks on Port Hudson.
This force certainly would easily reduce Port Hudson and enable them to come on up the river and maintain a position on high land near enough to Vicksburg until they could be re-enforced from here sufficiently to operate against the city.
Please inform the general of the contents of this, and much oblige your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,
[Inclosure No. 3.]
UNITED STATES FLAG-SHIP HARTFORD,
Above Port Hudson, La., April 6, 1863.
Major General N. P. BANKS,
Commanding Department of the Gulf:
MY DEAR GENERAL: Thanks to an overruling Providence I am once more within communicating distance with you, and I avail myself of the first opportunity to send you the communication of General Grant, together with this dispatch. It is my intention to await him, and to maintain a rigid blockade of Red River at its mouth until the arrival or failure of the force above to join me and make the attack upon Port Hudson, as indicated in the communication of General Grant. I confess