Hudson, landing at Bayou Sara at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 22d. We reached Newport on the 23d, and moved upon Port Hudson.
Several combats were had with the enemy, in which we were successful. Outside of his intrenchments he has no power, and yesterday we made a combined assault upon his works. They are more formidable than have been represented, and his force stronger. The fight was very bitter and our losses severe. The enemy's losses are large, but not in comparison with ours. On either side we pushed our troops close to the line of his fortifications, and on the right our forces occupied the opposite faces of the same parapet with the enemy. But we have not strength enough yet to carry their works. There are 5,000 troops that I can bring to my support in three days. It is necessary that the enemy should be prevented from re-enforcing the garrison. I hope that he will be so occupied as to make it impossible for him to do so. Next to that it is essential that you should assist us if you can. We have ammunition, provisions, artillery, and cavalry, and want nothing but the men. We shall be grateful for any aid, however slight. Our solicitude for your safety is tempered with the strongest hopes that your good fortune and signal ability will establish the perfect success of all your plans.
The garrison of the enemy is 5,000 or 6,000 men. The works are what would ordinarily be styled "impregnable." They are surrounded by ravines, woods, valleys, and bayous of the most intricate and labyrinthic character, that make the works themselves almost inaccessible. It requires time even to understand the geography of the position. They fight with determination, and our men, after a march of some 500 or 600 miles, have done all that could be expected or required of any similar force. I send this by an officer of my staff, and hope that information may be received from your without delay.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
P. S.-With the gunboat that takes this communication to you, I send back the steamers Forest Queen and Moderator, that you sent for the transportation of my troops. If it be possible, I beg you to send to me at least one brigade of 4,000 or 5,000 men. This will be or vital importance to us. We may have to abandon these operations without it.
[MAY 29, 1863.-For Banks to Grant, in relation to affairs at Port Hudson, see Series I, Vol. XXIV, Part III, p. 359, 360.]
May 29, 1863.-10.30 p. m.
Commanding Department of the Gulf, before Port Hudson:
DEAR GENERAL: Lieutenant Harcourt delivered your dispatch at this moment; hence you see it was too late for any of the purpose of which you speak, except the firing during the night, which we commence every night from 10 to 12, and shell all night. We shelled all the afternoon, nut we cannot reach beyond the second battery. They cut up the mortar-boats and the Essex yesterday or last night, so that they