HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Port Hudson, La., July 10, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to inform you that with the post there fell into our hands over 5,500 prisoners, including 1 major-general and 1 brigadier-general, 20 pieces of heavy artillery, 5 complete batteries, numbering 31 pieces of field artillery, a good supply of projectiles for light and heavy guns, 44,000 pounds of cannon powder, 5,000 stand of small-arms, 150,000 rounds of small-arms ammunition, besides a small amount of stores of various kinds.
We captured also two steamers, one of which is very valuable, and will be of great service at this time.
Upon the surrender, I found it necessary to move at once every available man to Donaldsonville, to dislodge the enemy, who had temporarily obstructed our communication with New Orleans, and to drive his forces from the La Fourche district, where he was in considerable numbers. My transportation was wholly insufficient for its duty, and our supplies limited. I was also compelled to garrison this post for the present by the nine-months' regiments, most of which are of opinion that their term of service has already expired, and the colored regiments. It became thus very difficult to remove, to supply, or to guard my prisoners. I decided, therefore, after the post had surrendered unconditionally, to release the non-commissioned officers and privates upon their parole. These paroles will be taken with more than the usual formalities. The consolidated list will be signed by the men themselves, by Major-General Gardner, and by the officer who receives the parole, and each man will be furnished with a duplicate parole signed by himself, his regimental commander, and the paroling officer. The men will then march out and disperse to their several homes. The officers will be kept in confinement until further orders.
Trusting that my course in this matter will be approved by you and by the Department, I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, La., August 17, 1863.
SIR: I have leave to inclose a copy of a dispatch, which I had the honor of addressing to you on the 10th ultimo, relative to the parole of the Confederate prisoners surrendered to me at Port Hudson.
In further explanation of the manner in which these men were paroled, I have also the honor to inclose a copy of the form used.* Each man signed in presence of his officers duplicate paroles in this form. Major-General Gardner approved in duplicate the rolls so signed for each regiment, company, and detachment. The United States provost-marshal signed them in duplicate as paroling officer. One copy of these consolidated paroles was retained by the paroling officer, and is now on file at these headquarters; one copy was delivered to Major-General Gardner, according to previous agreement entered into at his own request, in order that, to quote his own reason, he might forward them to