XV. the Department of the Gulf--Port Hudson--Texas.
- Galveston -- Retaken by Com. Renshaw -- surprised by Magruder, and carried -- our fleet disabled and beaten -- disaster at Sabine Pass -- the Alabama captures the Hatteras -- Gen. Banks in command at New Orleans -- clearing the Atchafalaya -- fight at Carney's bridge -- Farragut passes the batteries at Port Hudson -- Banks returns to Berwick's Bay -- advances to Opelousas and Alexandria, La. -- moves thence to Bayou Sara, and crosses the Mississippi -- invests Port Hudson -- combined attack on its defenses -- repulsed with a loss of 2,000 -- Banks presses the siege -- second attack -- the Rebel supplies exhausted -- Gardner surrenders -- Dick Taylor surprises Brashear City -- fighting at Donaldsonville -- Franklin attacks Sabine Pass, and is beaten off -- Dana surprised at Morganzia -- Burbridge surprised near Opelonsas -- Gen. Banks embarks for the Rio Grande -- Debarks at Brazes Santiago, and takes Brownsville -- capture of Aransas Pass and Pass Cavallo -- Fort Esperanza abandoned -- Indianola in our hands -- Banks returns to New Orleans.
Galveston has one of the very few tolerable harbors which indent the continental shore line of the Mexican Gulf. The sand, everywhere impelled landward by the prevailing winds and currents, and almost everywhere forming a bank or narrow strip of usually dry beach closely skirting the coast, is here broken through by the very considerable waters of the rivers Trinity and San Jacinto, with those of Buffalo bayou, which unitedly form Galveston Bay; and the city of Galveston is built on the sand-spit here called Galveston Island, just south-west of the outlet of the Bay. It is the natural focus of the commerce of the larger, more fertile, more populous half of Texas, and by far the most considerable place in the State; having had, in 1860, regular lines of steamers running to New York, to New Orleans, and to the smaller Texan ports down the coast, with a population of 5,000, a yearly export of nearly half a million bales of cotton, and a very considerable trade. Plunged, with the rest of the State, into the whirlpool of Secession, it had many Unionists among its people, who welcomed the reappearance of the old flag when their city, after being once idly summoned1 to surrender, was at length occupied,2 without resistance, by a naval force consisting of four steam gunboats under Commander Renshaw--the Rebel municipal as well as military authorities retiring to the main land. The possession thus easily acquired was as easily maintained to the close of that year: Gen. Banks, at the request of Renshaw, sending down from New Orleans the 42d Massachusetts, Col. Burrill; whereof three companies, numbering 260 men, were actually debarked,3 and encamped on the wharf, the residue being still on their way; while our gunboats Westfield, Clifton, Harriet Lane, Owasco, Coryphaeus, and Salem (disabled), lay at anchor in the harbor — Renshaw in chief command. Some of these boats had been down the coast during the summer, and exchanged compliments with the Rebel batteries at Corpus Christi4 and Lavacca,5 without inflicting or receiving much if any harm. Since then, they had lain quiet in the harbor; their commander maintaining the most intimate and cordial relations with the leading Rebels adjacent, who were in and out of Galveston at their convenience; having a pretty full use of that port without the trouble of defending it. Maj.-Gen. Magruder having, about this time, succeeded to the chief command in Texas, reports that he found matters along the coast in a very unsatisfactory state — the harbors virtually or actually in Federal possession, from the Sabine to Corpus Christi, and the valley of the Rio Grande almost abandoned. So, after stopping but a day or two in Houston, lie went down to Virginia Point, opposite Galveston; thence coolly  passing over to the city by night, with 80 men, supported by some 310 more, coolly inspecting its defenses and military capacities without resistance or demur. Even the long wooden bridge connecting the city with the main land, with the railroad track leading over it to Virginia Point, were neither broken up nor guarded; so that Magruder had the most liberal facilities afforded him for the enterprise he meditated. He decided that, though he could readily seize the old defenses, he could make nothing of them, and that he must operate by steamboats; as he had advices from New Orleans that more Federal troops were coming. So, collecting guns, troops, and volunteers from the adjacent region, and steamboats from all the rivers flowing into the Bay, he prepared for a speedy attack. His arrangements appear to have been made with judgment as well as energy, and his command of men was virtually unlimited; but his guns (6 siege and 14 field-pieces) were inadequate, and his vessels (three or four ordinary river steamboats, their decks shielded by cotton-bales) glaringly so. It is difficult to resist the impression, on reading his report, not only that Renshaw was a traitor, but that Magruder acted with full knowledge of that fact; since otherwise his enterprise was sheer madness. That the Rebels were preparing to expel us from the city and harbor was perfectly understood in Galveston throughout at least the day6 previous to the attack. Aside from the “intelligent contraband” usually present and vocal on such occasions, the hush of expectation, broken only by furtive and ominous whispers, gave proof that every Rebel in Galveston anticipated a speedy change of flags. Yet no preparation was made for resistance; no streets were patrolled; no unusual vigilance evinced; even the wooden bridge, two miles long, connecting the island city with the hostile mainland, was neither burnt, taken up, barricaded, nor even observed on our part; so Magruder, unresisted and unchallenged, advanced over it, about midnight, with his forces and guns (the latter on cars), into and through the city, as though he were traversing the streets of Houston, to within two squares of the wharf whereon the Massachusetts men were quartered, posted his guns in the most advantageous positions, unhitched their horses and sent them to a place of safety — the guns having been brought to bear on our vessels, but awaiting the arrival of the boats before opening fire. At 4 A. M., however — the moon having set, obscuring the movements on shore, but leaving our gunboats distinctly visible to the Rebel gunners in the clear star-light — Magruder, unable to wait longer for the fleet, lest he should be overtaken by daybreak, fired the signal-gun himself; while Col. Cook led a storming party of 500, supported by Griffin's battalion and by sharpshooters, to the assault on our Massachusetts men encamped on the wharf. The assault miscarried. The wharfplanks having been taken up between our men and the land, and piled up to form a rude barricade in their front, it was necessary that the assailants should wade through the water of the bay, carrying scaling-ladders  as well as muskets; while not only were our landsmen by this time wide awake and firing vigorously, but our vessels were dispensing grape and canister with the proverbial generosity of sailors. The water proved deeper than had been calculated; the scaling-ladders were said to be too short; and, after a brief struggle, the stormers recoiled and took shelter behind the nearest buildings; while the guns of our vessels, hardly 300 yards distant, proved too many for the lighter pieces of the hastily constructed Rebel batteries, driving off their gunners and completely silencing their fire. Daybreak was imminent; and it seemed for a moment that victory was alighting on the banners of the Union. But now two Rebel steamboats appeared, and speedily put a different face on the matter. Ably handled by Commodore (or Major) Leon Smith, heavily barricaded with cotton-bales, and amply manned by volunteers from Sibley's brigade, under Cols. Green and Bagby, they dashed down the harbor — the Bayou City and Neptune rushing from either side on the Harriet Lane, Capt. Wainwright; running into her with all their force, and sweeping her decks with a deadly fire of small arms. They met no traitors nor cowards among her chief officers. The Neptune was disabled by the Harriet Lane's return blow, sinking soon afterward, in eight feet water; and the Bayou City narrowly escaped a similar fate, barely evading the direct force of the Lane's crashing assault, which swept off her larboard wheelhouse. Meanwhile, Wainwright's heavy guns were crashing through his adversary, whose only cannon, a 68-pounder, had burst at the third discharge, but whose heavy musketry fire was so annoying that it doubtless interfered with the steering of our vessel; so that the Rebel boat, turning once more, drove her prow into the iron wheel of the Lane, fixing it there; when Smith was enabled to board with his more numerous crew, and our overpowered men, after a brief resistance, surrendered; but not till Wainwright had been killed, and Lt.-Com'g Lee mortally wounded. Lee's father was a Rebel Major, engaged in the attack, and one of the first to recognize his dying son. The Owasco had been coaling below the town, but had got under way soon after the fight commenced; engaging the Rebel batteries until she observed the cotton-boats in conflict with the Harriet Lane; when she steamed up to assist her; grounding repeatedly on the way, owing to the darkness and the narrowness of the channel. Approaching the Lane, she was received with a heavy fire of musketry, while her own 11-inch gun could rarely be brought to bear; so she speedily backed out of the encounter, returning to her fruitless contest with the shore batteries. The Westfield, Renshaw's flag-ship, had started to meet the Rebel steamers on the tidings of their approach; but soon got hard and fast aground at high tide, and began signaling for assistance. The Clifton, Lt.-Com'g Law, thereupon went up to her, and began to pull her off; when, upon seeing the flashes of guns from the Rebel batteries, Renshaw ordered her back to the city. It was now after 7 A. M., and broad day. The Rebels raised a white flag  on the Harriet Lane, and sent a truce-boat to the Clifton, demanding the surrender7 of our fleet! Law repelled the suggestion, yet accompanied the Rebel officer to Renshaw on the Westfield, who rejected the proposal; ordering our vessels afloat to get out of harm's way so soon as might be, while he, despairing of getting the Westfield off, would blow her up, and escape with his crew on the transports Saxon and Boardman, lying near him. lie did blow her up, accordingly; but the explosion must have been premature, since Renshaw himself, with Lt. Zimmerman, Engineer Green, and ten or fifteen of his crew, perished with her.8 An eye-witness states that all had left her but Renshaw himself when she was fired (it was said by a drunkard) and blew up, killing eight or ten officers and men in the captain's gig beside her. Meantime, our soldiers, left to their fate, and wholly without artillery, had been summoned by Gen. W. R. Scurry9 to surrender, and had done so. Two coal-barques — the Cavallo and the Elias Pike — were captured10 by the Rebel steamboat Carr--one of two or three that came down the bay some time after the Neptune and Bayou City. And Law, considering the Owasco his only efficient vessel, and she not equal in a fight to the Harriet Lane, precipitately abandoned the blockade, running off with the sad remains of our fleet to New Orleans; though hourly expecting a transport down from that city, which would almost inevitably run into the enemy's clutches if not warned of the changed condition of affairs. Magruder reports his entire loss in this fight at 26 killed, 117 wounded, and the steamer Neptune--her crew and guns being saved. He says he captured (beside the Harriet Lane, with all her armament, the schooner and barques), “350 prisoners, beside officers ;” while our losses include the Westfield also, with her splendid battery of eight heavy rifled guns. He came very near entrapping the steamship Cambria,  which arrived off the bar on the 3d, containing (he says) “E. J. Davis and many other apostate Texans, beside several hundred troops, and 2,500 saddles for the use of native sympathizers.” Her captain, however, was seasonably warned to escape. One Galveston Unionist, named Thomas Smith, who was landed from her yawl, he caught, tried, and shot as a deserter from the Rebel service. And that was the sum of his “spoils” --Com. Farragut, soon after, sending vessels to reestablish the blockade, before the Harriet Lane could be got ready to run out and roam the seas as a Rebel corsair. But at Sabine Pass, a performance soon after occurred which was scarcely less disgraceful to our arms than this at Galveston. The broad estuary at the mouth of the Sabine was blockaded by the Union gunboat Morning Light, 10 guns, and the schooner Velocity, 3 guns; which were attacked11 by two Rebel gunboats — Josiah Bell and Uncle Ben--fitted out in the Sabine for the purpose, under command of Major O. M. Watkins, who chased our vessels out to sea and captured them after a very feeble resistance. Watkins reports his captures at “13 guns, 129 prisoners, and $1,000,000 worth of stores.” The blockade of Galveston having barely been reestablished under Com. Bell, of the Brooklyn, a sail was descried12 in the south-east; when the gunboat Hatteras, Lt.-Com'g R. G. Blake, was signaled by Bell to overhaul her. The stranger affected to fly; but Blake soon observed that lie did not seem in any great hurry. Clearing his decks for action, he stood on; and, when four miles distant, he saw that the chase had ceased to steam and was waiting. Blake, whose guns were short as well as few, ran down to within 75 yards and hailed; when the stranger answered his hail by proclaiming his craft Her Britannic Majesty's ship Vixen. Blake thereupon offered to send a boat aboard; and was proceeding to do so — each of them maneuvering for a better position — when the stranger shouted, “We are the Confederate steamer Alabama,” and poured in a broadside; which was promptly returned. The Alabama being every way the superior vessel, Blake had no hope, save in closing with and boarding her; which he attempted to do; but the Alabama had the advantage in speed as well as force, and easily baffled him. Both vessels were firing every gun that could be brought to bear, and as rapidly as possible, at a distance of but 30 yards--the Alabama having received considerable injury — when two of her shells simultaneously entered the Hatteras at the water-line, exploding and setting her on fire; and a third pierced her cylinder, filling her with scalding steam, crippling her walking-beam, and disabling her engine; while water poured in profusely from the rift in her side, threatening her with speedy destruction. The Alabama now working ahead, beyond the range of the Hatteras's guns, Blake ordered his magazine to be flooded, and fired a lee gun; when the enemy afforded assistance in saving our men — the Hatteras going down ten minutes afterward. Her crew--(118, including six wounded)--were transferred to the conqueror; she having had two killed. The Alabama,  though considerably cut up, so as to be compelled to run into Kingston, Jamaica, for repairs, had but one man wounded. And no wonder; since the Hatteras's heaviest guns were 32s, while of the Alabama's (9 to our 8), one was an 150-pounder on a pivot, another a 68; and she threw 324 pounds of metal at a broadside to the Hatteras's 94. With such a disparity of force, the result was inevitable. Gen. N. P. Banks, having assumed13 command of the Department of the Gulf, found himself at the head of a force about 30,000 strong, which had been officially designated the “Nineteenth army corps.” With this, he was expected, in cooperation with Grant's efforts up the river, to reopen the Mississippi, expel the Rebels in arms from Louisiana, and take military possession of the Red River country, with a view to the speedy recovery of Texas, whose provisional Governor, Gen. Andrew J. Hamilton, surrounded by hundreds more of Union refugees, was with him at New Orleans, and naturally anxious for an immediate movement upon their State; which they believed ripe for restoration. Their hopes of such a demonstration, however, were soon blasted, as we have seen, by our needless and shameful disasters at Galveston and Sabine Pass. Meantime, Gen. Banks had dispatched14 Gen. Cuvier Grover, with 10,000 men, to reoccupy Baton Rouge, which had been relinquished to the enemy, and which was now recovered without a struggle. From New Orleans, a single railroad reaches westward to Brashear City on the Atchafalaya, where that jumble of grand canal, river, sound, and lagoon, receives the waters of the Bayou Teche — each of them heading near, and at high water having navigable connection with, Red river. South of the railroad and east of the Atchafalaya, the country had already been in good part overrun by our forces; but our possession of it was imperfect and debated. Beyond and above, all was Rebel; while fortifications at Butte à la Rose, well up the Atchafalaya, and Fort Bisland, at Pattersonville, on the Teche, were intended to bar ingress by our gunboats from Red river or by our land forces from New Orleans. Fort Bisland was flanked by Grand Lake on the right, and by impassable swamps on the left; a Rebel force, estimated [too high] by Gen. Banks at over 12,000 men, held these strong works and the adjacent country; while to hold New Orleans securely, with its many protecting forts and approaches, Key West, Pensacola, Ship Island, &c., with all Texas backing the zealous and active Rebel partisans in Louisiana, who were promptly apprised by their spies of any weak spot in our defenses — to say nothing of the danger of hostile attacks from the side of Alabama and Mississippi--required the larger part of his corps; so that Banks found his disposable force reduced by inevitable details to less than 14,000 men; while the Rebel array in and around Port Hudson was reported by his spies at 18,000; rendering a siege without large reenforcements impossible. He, therefore, turned his attention first to the line of the Atchafalaya. An attempt to open the Bayou  Plaquemine, connecting with the Atchafalaya near Butte à la Rose, having failed — the bayou being found so choked by three years accumulation of snags and drift as to be impassable by boats--Gen. Weitzel's force on Berwick's Bay was increased to 4,500 men, with a view to an advance to and operations in the Teche region. Starting15 from Thibodeaux, Gen. Weitzel embarked his infantry next day at Brashear, on the gunboats Calhoun, Diana, Kinsman, and Estrella, Com. McKean Buchanan, who moved slowly up the bayou to Pattersonville; the artillery and cavalry going by land. Encountering formidable obstructions at a place known as Carney's Bridge, a few miles above, Com. Buchanan, after reconnoitering, dropped down a short distance for the night; returning next morning16 to attack; while the 8th Vermont was sent around to flank the defenses on the north. The obstructions were found vexatious rather than formidable: consisting of a steamboat filled with brick and sunk across the channel, with the great iron-clad gunboat Cotton behind it; a battery on either flank, and some torpedoes in the bayou below. One of these was exploded under the Kinsman; lifting her stern into the air, but not crippling her; when she fell back to avoid another just ahead, whereof a negro fugitive from the Cotton gave timely warning. Com. Buchanan, on the Calhoun, either not hearing or despising the caution, at once took the advance, standing on the bow of his vessel, spy-glass in hand, in the midst of a furious cannonade from the Cotton and Rebel batteries, and the more deadly fire of sharp-shooters from rifle-pits; when, at 10 A. M., a bullet through his head struck him dead on the instant. By this time, the 8th Vermont had gained the Rebel rear, and was making a rapid clearance of their rifle-pits; while the batteries of the 1st Maine, the 4th and 6th Massachusetts, supported by sharp-shooters from the 75th and 160th New York, had flanked the defenses on the other side, and were sweeping the decks of the Cotton, whose crew beat a retreat, as did most of the Rebels on land, whereof but 40 were taken prisoners. The Cotton was fired during the ensuing night, and utterly destroyed. The force here beaten consisted of the 28th Louisiana, with Simms's and the Pelican battery, under Col. Gray--in all, but 1,100 men, beside the crew of the Cotton. Our loss was 7 killed and 27 wounded. Gen. Banks being still intent on opening the Atchafalaya by the meditated advance through the Bayou Plaquemine to the capture of Butte á la Rose, the next month was wasted on this enterprise; and the success at Carney's Bridge was not otherwise improved. Meantime, some 200 Western boys defeated17 a like number of the 3d Louisiana cavalry at Old River; losing 12 men, killing 4, wounding 7, and taking 26 prisoners. Admiral Farragut, having heard of our loss of the Queen of the West and De Soto18 below Vicksburg, decided that it was his duty to run the Rebel batteries at Port Hudson, in order to recover the command of the river above; so he called on Gen. Banks for cooperation. Hereupon,  our forces were hastily recalled from the Atchafalaya and concentrated at Baton Rouge; where they crossed and advanced,19 about 12,000 strong, driving in the Rebel pickets, to the rear of the Port; Farragut having intended, under cover of a land attack on that side, to run the batteries early next morning. He judged best, however, to anticipate Gen. Banks's attack, the night being intensely dark; so, in his stout flag-ship Hartford, lashed side to side with the Albatross, he led the perilous adventure; arriving abreast of the Rebel batteries a little before midnight. If he had counted on passing unobserved, or shrouded in darkness, he was much mistaken. Hardly was he within range of the nearest Rebel guns, when signal-lights were seen flashing from every direction, including the opposite shore; and, directly, the flames of a vast bonfire in front of the heaviest batteries shot up into the sky, lighting the entire breadth of the river as though it were midday. Rockets were soon streaming in the air; now a gun from the west bank saluted the Hartford, which instantly returned the compliment; and the next moment the earth trembled to the roar of all the Rebel batteries; whereupon our mortar-boats below began firing 13-inch shell at the enemy; and the frigates Hartford, Mississippi, Richmond, and Monongahela, and gunboats Albatross, Genesee, Kineo, Essex, and Sachem, as they severally came within range, fired broadside after broadside; the brass howitzers in their tops and the heavy pivot guns at the bow and stern being industriously worked; while the atmosphere was soon so thick with sulphurous smoke that great care was needfully exercised by our commanders to avoid firing into each other; our aim being now directed by the flashes of the enemy's guns; which, changing from shell to grape as our vessels came within musket and pistol-shot, swept our decks by murderous discharges; some of their batteries being placed on bluffs so high that they could not be harmed by our shots; while the crescent shape of the defenses, following the curve of the channel, enabled them to rake each vessel as it approached, and again as it receded. The greatest care was requisite to avoid grounding or colliding in the dense darkness which followed the burning out of the Rebel bonfire; and there were several narrow escapes from these ever imminent disasters. It was 11 1/2 P. M. when the first gun spoke: and by 1 the fight was virtually over — the Hartford and the Albatross having passed; while most of their consorts had failed, and dropped down to their anchorage below — when a fresh blaze told of a heavy loss. The Mississippi had run aground directly abreast of the heaviest and most central battery; where she was soon discovered and became a target for them all. Here Capt. Melancthon Smith fought her nearly half an hour, till she was completely riddled; when he ordered her set on fire and abandoned; and she was; burning aground till she was so lightened that she floated; when she drifted down the river a blazing ruin, exploding, several miles below, when the fire had reached her magazine. Of her 233 officers and men, but 29 were missing at roll-call next day.  The Richmond had been stopped on her course by a shot through her steam-drum, and lost 8 killed and 7 wounded. The Kineo was disabled by a shot through her rudder; Capt. McKinstry, of the Monongahela, was badly wounded. Several of our vessels carried ugly marks thereafter; but the loss of the Mississippi, with her splendid armament of 21 large guns and 2 howitzers, was our principal disaster. Gen. Banks returned forthwith to Baton Rouge; his immediate object being accomplished; while he judged the force holding the Port entirely too strong20 to be besieged by his little army — a point whereon Gen. Halleck deems him in error. Our columns were again impelled westward to Brashear City and thence across Berwick's Bay;21 the main body moving thence on Franklin, while Gen. Grover's division was sent by transports up the Atchafalaya and Grand Lake to Irish Bend, above Fort Bisland, where lie effected a landing with great difficulty — the water being, shallow for over a mile from shore, precluding his expected cooperation in Gen. Banks's movement. Here he was soon attacked with vigor, but held his ground and beat off the enemy. Still, the attack sufficed to keep open the road for Gen. Dick Taylor, who, evacuating Fort Bisland, and burning several steamboats, retreated on Opelousas; making a brief stand at Vermilion Bayou, and losing heavily, as he reports, by desertion and straggling — much of his force being made up of unwilling conscripts, who improved every opportunity to escape and return to their homes. Taylor reports his men at but 4,000 in all, and blames his subordinate, Gen. Sibley, for persistent disobedience of orders and other unsoldierly conduct. During his retreat, the famous Queen of the West was assailed by our gunboats in Grand Lake, whither she had worked her way down the Atchafalaya from Red river,and destroyed; her crew being made prisoners. Banks was delayed by Taylor's burning, as he fled, the bridges over the many bayous and sluggish water-courses of this region; but he entered Opelousas in triumph on the same day22 that our gunboats. under Lt.-Com'g A. P. Cooke, captured Butte à la Rose, opening the Atchafalaya to Red river; so that communication was reestablished,23 through the gunboat Arizona, with Admiral Farragut, at the mouth of that stream. And now a new advance was rapidly made24 by our army to Alexandria; Taylor, evacuating Fort De Russy, again retreating on Shreveport without a fight; while Admiral Porter came up the river with his fleet, and Louisiana, save its north-west corner, was virtually restored, or subjugated, as you will. Gen. Banks sent Weitzel, with a part of his army, on the track of the flying Rebels, nearly to Grand Ecore; when Taylor's force was so reduced that it did not seem worth farther pursuit; and he was unable to retake the field for weeks. Banks reports his captures in this campaign at 2,000 prisoners and 22  guns; while he had seized 2 and destroyed 8 Rebel steamers, beside three gunboats. An intercepted letter showed that Taylor had purposed to attack Brashear City the day prior to our advance to and attack on Fort Island. Gen. Banks had been notified by Admiral Farragut, while at Brashear City, that Gen. Grant--then at his wits' end before Vicksburg — would spare him 20,000 men for a movement on Port Hudson — a proffer which was soon afterward, and most fortunately, retracted. Grant's plan was to join teams and help Banks reduce Port Hudson, when the latter should help him reduce Vicksburg: an arrangement to which Gen. B. very gladly assented. Grant's corps designed to cooperate against Port Hudson was to be at Bayou Sara May 25th; but on the 12th Banks was advised by letter25 from Grant that lie had crossed the Mississippi in force, and had entered on his campaign which proved so successful. Of course, lie had now no corps to spare, but proposed instead that Banks should join him in his movement against Vicksburg. This the latter was obliged to decline, lacking the required transportation, and not daring to leave New Orleans and all we held in Louisiana at the mercy of the strong Rebel garrison of Port Hudson, of whose batteries Farragut had recently had so sore an experience; to say nothing of Dick Taylor's return, strongly reenforced, from the side of Texas. So Banks, sending Gen. Wm. Dwight to Grant to explain his position, wisely decided to move with all his available force against Port Hudson, where he could be in position either to defend New Orleans below, or to reenforce, in an emergency, or be reenforced by, Grant above. And Grant, on hearing all the facts as set forth by Gen. Dwight, heartily concurred in this decision; offering to send Banks 5,000 men so soon as he could spare them. Gen. Banks, directly after Dwight's return to Alexandria, put26 his army in motion; sending all he had transportation for by water; the residue marching by land to Simmsport, where they were with difficulty ferried across the Atchafalaya, and moved down the right bank of the Mississippi till opposite Bayou Sara, where they crossed,27 and, marching 15 miles next day, proceeded forthwith to invest Port Hudson from the north; while Gen. C. C. Augur, with 3,500 men from Baton Rouge, in like manner invested it on the south. Gen. Gardner, commanding at Port Hudson, sent Col. Miles to resist their junction behind his fastness by striking Augur on his march; but he was repulsed with a loss of 150 men; while our right wing above, under Gens. Weitzel, Grover, and Dwight, drove the garrison, after a sharp fight, within their outer line of intrenchments. The next day,28 they joined hands with Augur behind the Rebel works, and the investment of the Port, save on the side of the river, was complete. Reports being current that the enemy had withdrawn — that there was only a handful of them left behind their works, &c.--Banks, after thorough reconnaissance and giving time for preparation, gave the order for a general assault. That assault 
Port Hudson: Explanations |
I to Q — batteries. A, B, C, D — Redoubts. E — South Bastion. F — East Bastion. G, H — Large forts.