War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0180 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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dispatch, who will take charge of anything you desire to send to me, and bring it to my command to-night.

All quiet on Plank road; think most of the force has crossed to the Bayou Sara road. Enemy still reported at Plains Store; am going to see.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding.

Major-General GARDNER.


Clinton, La., May 29, 1863.

GENERAL: Your dispatches, per courier, for General Frank. Gardner, were brought to my headquarters on 25th instant. Every effort has been made to get them through, but without success. The dispatches ordering the evacuation of Port Hudson* were also received by me and sent through. Major-General Gardner was them completely invested, and to have attempted to cut his way through the lines of the enemy, 20,000 strong, well posted, with a large cavalry force at hand, would have been attended with very great loss; besides, I doubt his being able to get through at all. If he had the line of retreat wold have been so long we must have suffered greatly before we could have reached Jackson.

I have had no communication from General Gardner since the 24th. On that night he intended to come out, if possible, and ordered me to place my forces so as to assist him, which I did. I think he found it impossible to cut his way through, and has, perhaps, concluded to remain to defend the place as long as he can, hoping to be relieved by re-enforcements. I am at this place with a small command of cavalry and mounted infantry, 1,200 men, doing all I can to aid General Gardner by dashing upon the enemy's lines, destroying his wagon train, &c., drawing the enemy's troops from Port Hudson. I cannot do a great deal, but am determined to do all that can be done with the means at my command. I have so far prevented the enemy's making raids into the country. Can we get re-enforcements? To relieve General Gardner is certainly very important; besides, I think if of very great importance to hold our position at Port Hudson as well as the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad.

The country along the Mississippi River and east of it for 50 miles is a very wealthy one; there is a large amount of stock in it, and the people are doing everything they can for our cause-raising large crops of corn and potatoes for the army. A re-enforcement of 8,000 or 10,000 men, thrown in Banks' rear, will drive him from Port Hudson in five days. I am informed that Lieutenant General E. K. Smith is now at or near the mouth of Red River with 10,000 men. If he would come down and cross at Port Hudson, under cover of our guns, Port Hudson would be relieved at once. Dispatches sent via Natchez, Miss., would reach Lieutenant-General Smith. Pardon me for making these suggestions.+

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Eleventh Arkansas, Commanding Outposts, Port Hudson.



*See order, May 19, Part II, p. 9.


+See Taylor to Logan, June 15, Part II, p. 53.