War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0726 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter

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In regard to your frequent demands for re-enforcements I can only answer that it is utterly impossible at present to give you any. The Charleston operation was not by my advice. It was entirely a Navy plan. The troops sent there were mere auxiliaries, to assist in carrying out the plans of the Navy. They were virtually under Admiral DuPont's direction, that is, they were merely to assist in carrying out his plans. As the Navy was expected to renew the attack, the President directed that none of the troops be withdrawn. When any portion of these troops will be available I am unable to say. I agree with you, however, that the Mississippi River is the all-important object of the present campaign. It is worth to us forty Richmonds.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



WASHINGTON, D. C., May 11, 1863.

Major General N. P. BANKS,

Commanding Department of the Gulf:

GENERAL: Just after I had written my letter of this morning in reply to yours of the 23rd ultimo I received your dispatches of the 29th. They were immediately sent to the Secretary of War and the President for their perusal.

If your requisitions on the different Departments have not already been filled they will be without delay. In regard to light-draught steamers, it is very difficult, as you are aware, to send them to New Orleans from the North by sea. The risk is very great. It is hoped therefore that you will immediately carry out your plan of building them there. You have full authority to purchase, seize, build, or repair any vessels you may want. You have the full confidence of the Government and all the authority it can give you.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,




Alexandria, May 11, 1863.

Major D. C. HOUSTON, Chief Engineer:

SIR: By direction of the commanding general I have to inform you that a dispatch was received from Admiral Farragut last evening, from which it appears that he is informed that there are only 9,000 men at Port Hudson. Also a statement was made on board the Sykes by an officer that four transports filled with troops from Charleston and with some iron-clads were on the way to Baton rouge from New Orleans. The commanding general contemplates moving as soon as practicable to Simmesport, thence to Bayou Sara, should Grant send a force to co-operate, which he has promised to do, on moving down the Atchafalaya, &c., to Baton Rouge. If he cannot be assisted by Grant's force and can be by troops from Charleston you will see the importance of a speedy report from yourself, as well as that of a speedy reply from General Grant.

You are authorized to use the Sykes if necessary for the purpose of hastening the accomplishment of the two objects just mentioned. It is,