War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0536 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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force sufficient to aid him, my rear will be seriously threatened. My force is not large enough to do both. Under these circumstances, my only course seems to be carry this post as soon as possible, and then to join General Grant. If I abandon it, I cannot materially aid him.

I have now my heavy artillery in position, and I am confident of success in the course of a week. We can then render efficient aid to the army at Vicksburg. Every possible effort is being made to expedite and insure success.

The separation of the two armies is occasioned by the departure from the original plan of operations. I cam here finally, after the failure of the first plan, upon the assurance of General Grant, brought by an officer specially sent to him (Brigadier-General Dwight), that he could still probably aid us by a small force, not so large as first contemplated, but sufficient for our purpose. I believe General Grant to be still of opinion as he was then, that an abandonment of Port Hudson would relieve as strong a force of the enemy to re-enforce Johnston as it would bring to his aid.

I earnestly hope for a successful solution of the difficulties by which I am surrounded by an immediate reduction of the enemy's works here, for which we shall use every possible means in our power. I need not say what I have so many times urged, that the force placed at my disposal is inadequate to the duty imposed upon me, and yet I appreciate the impossibility of re-enforcing my command.

I am, general, with much respect, your obedient servant,

N. P. BANKS,

Major-General, Commanding.

HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS,

Before Port Hudson, June 4, 1863.

Lieutenant-Colonel IRWIN,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have the honor to forward to headquarters 3 deserters, who came in this morning, with their statements, taken down by me. These men appear to have come in voluntarily, and to have mentioned their intention to some of their friends, who did not betray them. They desire to be sent to New York.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM DWIGHT,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

Statements of deserters.

MIKE WELSH, private in Captain [A. J.] Lewis' detached [Mississippi] company.- Deserted last night; came in along the river's edge. Picket saw him, but said nothing. Five thousand effective men in Port Hudson. Beall's brigade, Miles's Legion (700 strong), and some detached companies. Very few sick. Equally distributed along the breastworks.

One company cavalry. Rations, half pound meat, half pound meal. Four light batteries; 40 or 50 Federal prisoners. Officers think place can be defended; men differ; think we mean to starve them out. Reported that there is meal enough to last till the 16th. We damaged their mill. They are short of caps. A general order has been issued