send all the force you can spare to co-operate in the great struggle for opening the Mississippi River.
My means of gaining information from Port Hudson are not good, but I shall hope, even before this reaches Baton Rouge, to hear of your forces being on the way here.
Grierson's cavalry would be of immense service to me now, and if at all practicable for him to join me I would like to have him do it at once.
For fear of this accidentally falling into the hands of the enemy I will not communicate to you my force.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,
[Inclosure No. 2.]
UNITED STATES STEAMER HARTFORD,
Off Red River, May 11, 1863.
Major General N. P. BANKS,
Commanding Department of the Gulf:
MY DEAR GENERAL: The admiral, as you are aware, has left me in command here and gone down to New Orleans. I have also four gunboats with me; two of them, the Arizona and Switzerland, are up the river, and the Albatross and Estrella are with me. You aide, Lieutenant Crosby, will tell you of our affairs here. It is very certain that there are not over 10,000 men at Port Hudson, and from many sources we hear that they are about to evacuate; that they have already, we hear, sent away two of their heaviest guns and are very much straitened in provisions. A demonstration upon them would, I think, insure their evacuation.
It seems now that General Grant can send you no re-enforcements. If you intend coming down, and I can be of any assistance, I will cheerfully remain to assist in the attack upon Port Hudson; but if this be not your intention for the present, I shall within the coming fortnight run the blockade some favorable night and join the fleet below, as the admiral is very anxious for me to come down.
I send you seven refugees, who are very anxious to join your army. They are very violent Union men, and may be of some service to you as pioneers.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. P. PALMERS,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, 19TH ARMY CORPS,
Alexandria, La., May 12, 1863.
GENERAL: A dispatch received this morning from Major-General Grant, dated at Auburn, May 10, requests me to join him at Vicksburg. I regret to say it is out of my power to do so. I have neither land nor water transportation which will enable me to move my command up the river, or on the other side of the river, in time or in force to be of service to him. This movement, if it were practicable, would leave all my trains and stores to the enemy's cavalry, the entire fruits of this campaign, and uncover New Orleans to the enemy in case of disaster. But I would hazard all risks if it were within human power to accomplish