the town. As soon as the troops here can be consolidated with those of the fleet I shall move against Port Hudson, which commands the entrance to the Red River. Whatever may happen we shall not be idle. Nothing is known with certainty of the movements of our troops on the Upper Mississippi, but it is reported from rebel sources that Commodore Porter has assaulted the rebel works at Vicksburg. I hope before the mail closes to have news from Vicksburg via Baton Rouge. Admiral Farragut to whom I delivered a letter from the President, is here and earnest for work. He has given me every assurance of hearty co-operation and support. His earnestness, enthusiasm, and frankness delighted me, and I anticipate a most satisfactory result from our mutual labors.
Without entering into any discussion of the administration of this department I am satisfied that the President will be confirmed upon a full report of the facts, in the measures he has adopted. All the indications of our campaign are auspicious, and I hope to make good the most sanguine anticipations in regard to my expedition.
I have not been able to obtain report of the number of troops here, and the immediate departure of my own command for Baton Rouge has made it impossible to obtain a complete statement of the force now in the department. I hope by an early mail to forward a full report.
Measures have been taken to discharge the transports at the earliest possible moment, in accordance with your instructions. All the troops sent to Baton Rouge sailed direct without transshipment. Upon the return of the vessels they will be ordered at once to New York. In my interview with Admiral Farragut I confidentially communicated to him your instructions in full. It seemed to be necessary and proper, in as-much as all our success must depend upon the united action of the two forces.
I am gratified to be able to report that the possible supplies of forage, transportation, &c., from the country occupied is far greater than I had supposed. A captain in the rebel service came in yesterday. He reports 23,000 men, consisting chiefly of conscripts from the neighboring States, at Port Hudson, and a division of the enemy, said among the rebels to be from California, to be marching toward Red River and the Mississippi. This man is known here, and is thought to be a reliable man. He has given valuable information of the topography of the country and the fortifications.
I am, with much respect, your most obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, December 19, 1862
Captain HUGGINS, U. S. N.,
Commanding Pampero, off Pilottown:
General Banks requests that you will communicate to the Charles Osgood and Shetucket, on their arrival orders to go to Galveston and disembark there; also that you will order the Quincy, on her arrival, to stay below the bar and report to these headquarters what troops she has on board and await further orders.
RICH'D B. IRWIN,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Assistant Adjutant-General.