supporting force of infantry, to Okolona and Columbus, and the cavalry to penetrate, if possible, to Meridian; Cornyn in command. I want Lee's cavalry to unite with Grierson's and push down through Pontotoc, breaking up [W. C.] Falkner at the latter place, and making strong diversions in favor of Cornyn.
C. S. HAMILTON.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS, Baton Rouge, La., March 13, 1863.
Major General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding Department of the Tennessee:
GENERAL: Anticipating the success of Admiral Farragut's proposed attempt to run the enemy's batteries at Port Hudson, and to open communication with you, I will avail myself of the opportunity to give you a statement of our position, force, and intentions.
We have at Baton Rouge a force of about 17,000 effective infantry and one negro regiment; one regiment of heavy artillery, with six light batteries; one 20-pounder battery; a dismounted company of artillery, and ten companies of cavalry, of which eight are newly raised and hardly to be counted on. Of this, three regiments of infantry, the heavy artillery (manning the siege train), the dismounted artillery, and one company of cavalry will remain at Baton Rouge.
Leaving this force to hold the position of Baton Rouge, we marched to-day upon Port Hudson, by the Bayou Sara road, to make a demonstration upon that work, for the purpose of co-operating in the movement of the fleet. The best information we have of the enemy's force places it at 25,000 or 30,000. This, and his position, precludes the idea of an assault upon our part, and, accordingly, the main object of the present movement is a diversion in favor of the navy, but we shall, of course, avail ourselves of any advantage which occasion may offer.
Should the admiral succeed in his attempt, I shall try to open communication with him on the other side of the river, and in that event trust I shall hear from you as to your position and movements, and especially as to your views of the most efficient mode of co-operation upon the part of the forces we respectively command.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS.
U. S. FLAG-SHIP HARTFORD, March --, 1863. (Received by General Grant March 20, 1863.)
Major General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding United States Forces, Vicksburg:
SIR: I herewith transmit to you, by the hand of my secretary, a dispatch from Major General N. P. Banks. It was sent up to me the evening I was pass the batteries at Port Hudson.
Having learned that the enemy had the Red River trade open to Vicksburg and Port Hudson, and that two of the gunboats of the upper fleet had been captured, I determined to pass up, and, if possible, recapture the boats and stop the Red River trade, and this I can do most effectually if I can obtain from Rear-Admiral Porter or yourself coal for my vessels. By my trip up the river I have become perfectly ac-