Head Quarters, Armies in the Field
Culpepper C. H. Va. Apl. 17th 1864
MAJ. GEN. N. P. BANKS,
COMD. G DEPT. OF THE GULF,
Owing to the difficulty of giving possitive instructions to a distant commander respecting his operations in the field, and being exceedingly anxious that the whole Army should act nearly as a unit, I send Maj. Gen. Hunter, an officer of rank and experience, bearer of duplicate copy of instructions sent you of the 31st of March, together with writen instructionsfor Gen. Hunter's guidance in your, and his interview.
It is not intended that Gen. Hunter shall give orders, in my name, further th[an] the instructions addressed to him are such orders but to express more fully my views th[an] I can well do on paper, and to remain with you until such time as you will be able to say definitely at what tim[e] you will commence your movement against Mobile.
In your letter of the 1st of April brought by Lt. Towner you, in anticipation of the enemy falling back from Schre[ve]port, propose a movement through Texas in pursuit of him. You had not, when this letter was written, receiv[ed] my instructions of the 31st of March. [I] hopethose instructions reached you before such a movement was commenced. I would much rather the Red River expedition had never been began than that you should be detained one day after the 1st of May in commencing your movement East of the Miss.
Hoping that Gen. Hunter will find you back at New Orleans with the work of concentration commenced, I remain
your obt. svt.
U. S. GRANT
Lt. Gen Com