setts has distributed [notices] to that effect to the regiments from that State. But, in the absence of instructions, I shall decide that their term is to be reckoned, first, from date of muster of the regiment as a regiment; secondly, if no such formal muster was ever made, from the date of muster-in of the field and staff. As this decision is likely to create considerable feeling among this class of troops, many of whom think they have already exceeded the period for which they enlisted, I urge that the matter be settled at once by higher authority.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Before Port Hudson, June 18, 1863.
Commanding Army of the United States:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatches of June 3 and 4, which reached me yesterday. Since I have been in the army, I have done all in my power to comply with my orders. It is so in the position I now occupy. I came here not only for the purpose of co-operating with General Grant, but by his own suggestion and appointment. Before I left Brashear City, he sent me information, by a special messenger from the fleet, that he would send to me, by Black River, a corps of 20,000 men, to aid in the reduction of Port Hudson, preliminary to an attack upon Vicksburg. Later, while at Opelousas, I received from him a dispatch, in cipher, referring to the assistance promised, and naming the 25th of May as they day when his force would join me. I replied that I would be at Port Hudson on that day. I reached Bayou Sara on the 23rd of May, and advanced immediately. A few days previous I received from the general information that, in consequence of a successful engagement with the enemy near Grand Gulf, he had moved to Jackson, and doubted if he could aid me, and requested me to join him. It was out of my power as I was then situated, having no communication, excepting by the Atchafalaya, with New Orleans, and no transportation, excepting that which came that way, to do so, and I immediately answered him that it would be impossible for me to transport my troops there in season to aid him.
The next day, however, desirous to do all I could to bring our forces together, I informed him that I would send to him all the troops I could, and sent my dispatch by Brigadier-General Dwight, who knew well my situation, and adding to my communication that, if I had 5,000 men to aid me in reducing Port Hudson, I could join him at once with all my forces. General Dwight returned with an answer from General Grant that I should move against Port Hudson at once, and that he would send me the troops I wanted, but desired I should not wait for them. It was upon this statement of his purpose that I moved to Port Hudson. Copies of all these dispatches have been sent to your headquarters.
It was not until after my assault on the works, the 27th of May, that I learned from Colonel Riggin, his aide-de-camp, who brought his message, that he could not spare the troops. It seemed to all my officers that the speedy reduction of the post was certain. It seemed so to Colonel Riggin, who thought that Port Hudson, should be first reduced, and that we were holding in this locality, inside and outside of the Port, more of the enemy's troops than we could carry of our own to General Grant. My officers and troops all believed our success was certain and