ought to attach to each of the department of such bureau. General Haupt would be the best man for this purpose, if he could be spared, and this part of it would occupy him but a short time.
A great quantity of the staple products that must necessarily pass over these roads in the occupation of this country make it very important as a financial matter. The military movements, necessarily requiring great celerity and secrecy, considering our small force, will give us an interest in the efficient organization of this branch of business, and on every consideration I desire that the whole affair shall be placed under the direction of the Railway Bureau at Washington. This is said without any purpose of making a complaint of what has been done, but with a view to secure full accountability and responsibility in the transaction of the increased labor likely to devolve upon it.
I have the honor to be, with much respect, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
U. S. FLAG-SHIP HARTFORD,
Off Red River, May 21, 1863.
GENERAL: I inclose you the following extracts taken from a letter I received from the commanding naval officer at Bayou Sara, this morning:
Picked up two deserters from Port Hudson that have been hidden in a swamp for several days, waiting for one of our vessels to come down. They say that there may be about 2,500 or 3,000 in Port Hudson, and many more beyond the place, but they do not know the force. Say that the batteries are well manned, and the guns still there; heard of no intended evacuation when they left. * * * The cavalry surprised everybody along the river blanks. The officer in command did not stop to communicate. I, however, stopped one of his officers, and learned that they were going to Waterloo. Went down with Albatross, and met them returning from the spot where our mails went across to the lower fleet. They brought back 2 killed and 1 wounded, and, as they had no medical office, I took him on board; had they told me where they were going, I could have saved them their loss, for I visited those woods and burned dwellings only the evening before, and heard that there was a force of cavalry and infantry opposite Port Hudson. I could have shelled them when drawn out by our cavalry. The number of men on both sides were the same. Anchored at Waterloo, and remained by the cavalry all night. * * * From Bayou Sara we still hear that Port Hudson has but a very small force-a brigade and a half.
J. S. PALMER,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, 19TH A. C., No. 122.
Simsport, May 21, 1863.
I. The Third Division will move on Morganza at 8.30 a.m. In addition to the regiment now on the other side of the Atchafalaya, which will remain where it is, Colonel Paine will detail one regiment of infantry and one battery to remain at this post, and will order the commanding officer at once to report in person at these headquarters for instructions.
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III. General Grover will, as speedily as practicable, proceed to place two batteries on board the steamers Empire Parish and Saint Maurice, with as large a part of his infantry as the two steamers can carry, in addition to the batteries. Six days' rations will be taken. The remainder