War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0488 W.FLA., S.ALA., S.MISS., LA., TEX., N.MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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And the commission does, therefore, sentence him, Charles H. Harris, late of New Orleans, La., "to be hung by the next until he be dead, at such time and place as the commanding general shall direct."

II. In compliance with the fifth section of the act approved July 17, 1862, the proceedings in the foregoing case have been submitted to the President of the United States, who directs that the sentence "to be hung by the neck until he be dead" be commuted to confinement at hard labor on Ship Island, or some other military prison, for during the war.

The commanding general of the Department of the Gulf will designate the military prison to which the prisoner will be sent.

By order of the Secretary of War:


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Sims' Plantation, opposite Simsport, La., May 17, 1863-9 p.m.

Major General N. P. BANKS,

Commanding Department:

GENERAL: I thank you for your note of yesterday, received this morning. The Sachem is just in, with dispatches from General Dwight of 8.30 last night, brought to the mouth of Red River by the Albatross. I inclose a copy.* The Laurel Hill arrived at 1 p.m., from below. Grover's division reported this morning, and is encamped at Simsport, on the other side. Emory's division encamped this evening 7 miles back of Simsport. The Bee will take these dispatches. The Laurel Hill will be used to cross both divisions, that no time may be lost in that way. We need another steamer to go up for the raft.

Commodore Palmer, who came down yesterday expecting to see you, fully agrees in the necessity of taking Port Hudson, and he will remain for the purpose. General Andrews thinks the information obtained by General Dwight as to the amount of the enemy's force at Port Hudson is not to be relied on, and that we should make our calculations for a large force. But, however that may be, it does not materially affect our movements. In either case we must now move on Port Hudson at once. These are the most important things:

1. General Andrews urges you to return at the earliest possible moment.

2. The navy must have coal, hard coal especially, at once. No coal has come. If it is left to the quartermaster at Brashear, none will come. Without it we can do nothing. Please insist on the coal being sent immediately, in large quantity, and at any cost. The iron-clads are reported to have received a load of soft coal from above.

3. To get steamers up here. The Laurel Hill is alone available to cross the entire command.

4. To order General Augur to move in force in the direction of Port Hudson, to ascertain the enemy's strength, if nothing else. It will take a very long time to cross this command on the Laurel Hill alone. There is another consideration in regard to boats-the falling of the river will soon begin to reduce the number of boats capable of ascending it. Low water should find them above not below, since we are to operate above.


*Not found; but see Irwin to Banks, p.489.