you can have immediate notice of its effect, and may extend your operations in the direction where it may be possible without injury. I will communicate to-day upon the subject of signals. An examination of the works when we reached show them to be very formidable, and the country in which they are placed is a perfect labyrinth. One is unable to comprehend the lay of the land even after having traveled through it. Ravines, woods, and obstructions of every sort disconcert the movements of troops and break up the lines. A portion of these difficulties will disappear as we get acquainted with the ground, but at first encounter they are very formidable. I want you to send to me 500 handgrenades. Let them be accompanied, if you please, by an officer who can explain to our men their proper management. I desire, if possible, that some means may be devised by which the steamers may be brought out of Thompson's Creek. If you can suggest anything upon his subject I should like it. I did not receive your letter of the 20th until last night, but most of the suggestions contained therein had been complied with.
I have the honor to be, admiral, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
Port Hudson, May 28, 1863-11.30 a. m.
DEAR GENERAL: Your two dispatches, by Captain [Charles A.] Hartwell, have this moment been received, and I am delighted to find that you maintain so good a position. I thought Weitzel had been driven back by the heavy bombardment in the night. I can but think that one of the best points of approach is on the water front. Captain Hoffman came down here opposite the Essex day before yesterday, and knows the way. It is not over 1\2 miles to the citadel, where they commenced fire on us this morning; we drove them out of it.
If you would come down abreast the Essex, and march up under the support of her and other vessels of the fleet; it seems to me that we could put you within the lines. The only thing I don't understand is the exact character of the land along the shore; your engineer officers must look at it.
We have no hand-grenades; they are not in use in the navy; why, I cannot tell, for we esteemed them highly during the war of 1812, and I still think highly of them.
If you can furnish pilots and engineers, the steamers can come out of Thompson's Creek at any time, and run up to the Hartford. As to the enemy's forces, we had a runaway yesterday who said there were between 4,000 and 5,000. They must work them very severely day and night, but they work on a small radius and back and forth. You must overcome them by a little perseverance. I will shell them, but I do not believe it does much good, as they are not where we can throw our shell. They go back to the line at night, but we will shell them any time they show themselves and at night also. They have been very lavish of their ammunition yesterday and to-day; the deserter said they had not much of it on hand.
Wishing you every success, I remain truly yours,
D. G. FARARGUT,