by General E. K. Smith with 8,000 men, and that they have now at that place 43,000 men. This is said to have been written by one of Smith's staff officers to an intimate friend in this city. There is nothing to confirm it, nor does it confirm our previous accounts, which have placed the force at Port Hudson at less than 20,000. They are short of supplies at Port Hudson, and if the enemy had 35,000 men there, or anything like that number, we should not have had long to wait for an attack on us at Baton Rouge.
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, No. 17. New Orleans, February 18, 1863.
I. No negroes will be taken from the plantations, until further orders, by any officer or other person in the service of the United States without previous authority from these headquarters.
II. All privates of the nine-months regiments of infantry serving in this department, desiring to re-enlist for three years or during the war in one of the regiments of cavalry or batteries of artillery also serving in this department, will be honorably discharged from the former regiments by orders from these headquarters upon so re-enlisting. They will record their names at the adjutant's office of their respective regiments at once or before the 1st of April next. Lists of the names so recorded will be forwarded weekly to brigade or division headquarters. Cavalry or artillery officers desiring to enlist such men will apply at the proper brigade or division headquarters for these lists and for permission to visit the regiments to recruit. Not more than 50 men will be so taken from any one regiment, and none will be taken under any circumstances whose names are not on such lists.
III. The various headquarters in the Department of the Gulf will be designated by small flags or guidons, 4 feet square, attached to a lance 12 feet long, made in two joints, as follows:
The headquarters of the Nineteenth Army Corps and Department of the Gulf by a blue flag, with a white four-pointed star in the center; the figures 19, in red, on the star.
Division headquarters, red, with a white four-pointed star in the center; the number of the division in black figures on the star.
Brigade headquarters, blue, white and blue horizontal stripes of equal width; the number of the brigade in black figures on the white stripe.
These flags will be habitually displayed in front of the headquarters they designate and on the march will be carried near the person of the commanding officer.
By command of Major-General Banks:
RICH'D B. IRWIN,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Assistant Adjutant-General.
HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, EMORY'S DIVISION,
Indian Village, La., February 20, 1863.
Captain R. O. IVES,
CAPTAIN: In obedience to the order of the brigadier-general commanding