The siege operations were pursued with the greatest vigor. On the right, we had completed our saps up to the very line of the enemy's fortifications. On the left, a mine had been prepared for a charge of 30 barrels of powder, in such position as would have made the destruction of the citadel inevitable.

Communication had been regular with General Grant at Vicksburg during the progress of the siege, and on July 6 we received information of the surrender of that post. Maj. Gen. Frank. Gardner, in command of the post, asked for an official statement of the report of the capture of Vicksburg, which had been circulated throughout his command, and I sent him a copy of that portion of the official dispatch of General Grant relating to the surrender of Vicksburg, and received on the night of July 6 a request that there might be a cessation of hostilities, with a view to an agreement of terms of a surrender. This was declined. He then made known officially his determination to surrender the post and garrison. A conference was appointed to agree upon the terms, which resulted in the unconditional surrender of the works and garrison, which was formally executed on July 8, and our troops entered and took possession of the works on the morning of the 9th.

General Gardner, in commending the gallantry of his men for their unwearied labors in the defense, which all our troops readily acknowledged, stated emphatically, as if he desired to be understood, that his surrender was not on account of the fall of Vicksburg or the want of ammunition or provisions, but from the exhaustion of his men, who had been without rest for more than six weeks, and who could not resist another attack. Though they might have held out a day or two longer, the attempt would have been at the expense of a useless effusion of blood.

During the investment and siege of Port Hudson, the enemy west of the Mississippi had been concentrating, and on June 18 one regiment of infantry and two of cavalry, under command of Colonel [J. P.] Major, captured and burned two of our small steamers at Plaquemine, taking 68 prisoners, mostly convalescents of the Twenty-eighth Maine Volunteers. The same force then passed down the river and Bayou La Fourche, avoiding Donaldsonville, and attacked our forces on the 20th at La Fourche Crossing, on the Opelousas Railway, cutting off communication between Brashear City and New Orleans. They were, however, finally repulsed, but renewed their attack on the 21st, which resulted in their again being repulsed, leaving 53 of their dead upon the field and 16 prisoners in our hands. Our loss was 8 killed and 16 wounded.* Re-enforcements were sent from New Orleans, but the enemy did not renew the attack. Our forces were under command of Lieut. Col. Albert Stickney, Forty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers. Subsequently they fell back to Algiers.

Orders had been sent to Brashear City to remove all stores, and hold the position, with the aid of the gunboats, to the last; but the enemy succeeded in crossing Grand Lake by means of rafts, and surprised and captured the garrison June 22 [23], consisting of about 300 men, two 30-pounder Parrott guns, and six 24-pounders. The enemy, greatly increased in numbers, then attacked the works at Donaldsonville, on the Mississippi, which were defended by a garrison of 225 men, including convalescents, commanded by Maj. J. D. Bullen, Twenty-eighth Maine Volunteers. The attack was made at 4.30 in the morning of June 28, and lasted until daylight. The garrison made a splendid defense, killing and wounding more than their own number, and capturing as many officers and nearly as many men as their garrison numbered. The enemy's troops were under command of General [Thomas] Green, of Texas, and consisted of the Louisiana troops, under General Taylor, and 5,000 Texas cavalry, making a force of 9,000 to 12,000 in all, in that vicinity. The troops engaged in these operations left but 400 men in New Orleans. The vigor and strength of the enemy in these several attacks show that, with the aid of the garrison at Port Hudson, New Orleans could not have been defended had my command been involved in the operations against Vicksburg.

Upon the surrender of Port Hudson, it was found that the enemy had established batteries below on the river, cutting off our communication with New Orleans, making it necessary to send a large force to dislodge them. The troops, exhausted by the labors of the long campaign, including nine-months' men and the regiment of colored troops, which had been organized during the campaign from the negroes of the country, did not number 10,000 effective men. It was impossible to drive the enemy from the river below, and leave troops enough at Port Hudson to maintain the position and guard between 6,000 and 7,000 prisoners. For these reasons, the privates were paroled and the officers sent to New Orleans.

On July 9, seven transports, containing all my available force, were sent below against the enemy in the vicinity of Donaldsonville. The country was speedily freed from his presence, and Brashear City was recaptured July 22.

During the siege, the colored troops held the extreme right of our line on the river, and shared in all the dangers of May 27 and of June 14, sustaining, besides, several desperate sorties of the enemy, particularly directed against them, with bravery and success. The new regiments of General Ullmann's brigade, which had been raised during the campaign, also shared the labors of the siege and the honors of the final victory.

Col. B. H. Grierson, commanding the Sixth and Seventh Regiments of Illinois Cavalry, arrived at Baton Rouge in April, from La Grange, Tenn., and joined us with his force at Port Hudson, covering our rear during the siege and rendering most important services. His officers and men were constantly on duty, regardless of toil and danger. They covered our foraging parties, dispersed the cavalry forces of the enemy, which they concentrated, and contributed in a great degree to the reduction of the post. Our deficiency in cavalry made his assistance of the utmost importance. With the exception of this command, much reduced by long journeys, our mounted force consisted chiefly of infantry mounted on the horses of the country, collected during the campaign.

The cooperation of the fleet, under Rear-Admiral Farragut, on the waters west of the Mississippi, as well as at Port Hudson, was harmonious and effective, and contributed greatly to the success of our arms. A battery of heavy guns was established in the rear of the works by one of the officers of the navy, the fire of which was most constant and effective.

The signal corps, under command of Captain [W. W.] Rowley, and subsequently under Captain [W. B.] Roe, and the telegraphic corps, under Captain Bulkley, rendered every assistance possible to these branches of the service. By means of signals and telegraphs, a perfect communication was maintained at all times, night and day, between the fleet and the army and with the different portions of the army.

The rebels admitted, after the close of the siege, that they had lost in killed and wounded during the siege 610 men; but they underrated the number of prisoners and guns they surrendered, and their loss in killed and wounded was larger than was admitted by them. It could not have been less than 800 or 1,000 men. Five hundred were found in the hospitals. The wounds were mostly in the head, from the fire of sharpshooters, and very severe.

A small portion of the troops composing the garrison at Port Hudson were ordered to Vicksburg, to strengthen the command of General Pemberton, subsequent to the attack in March. This gave rise to the report that the place had been evacuated, and it was only after the unsuccessful assaults of May 27 and June 14 that the strength of the fortifications and garrison was appreciated, and all parties were satisfied that our force was insufficient to effect the capture by assault. The uncertainty as to the movements of Johnston's command, which was known to be in the rear of Vicksburg, and the constant expectation that some part of his force would attack us in the rear, made it necessary that every consideration should be disregarded which involved the loss of time in our operations, and the general systematic attacks upon the works of the enemy were executed at the earliest possible moment after the necessary preparations had been made.

The siege lasted forty-five days, of which twenty-one days was incessant and constant fighting. It was conducted constantly with a view to the capture of the garrison as well as the reduction of the post.

When the proposition of General Gardner to suspend hostilities with a view to consider terms of surrender was received, there were 6,408 officers and men on duty within the lines; 2,500 in the rear of the besieging forces and on the west bank of the river, opposite Port Hudson, and 12,000 men, under Generals Green and Taylor, between Port Hudson and Donaldsonville, who had, by establishing their batteries on the west bank of the river, effectually cut off our communication with New Orleans, making 21,000 men actively engaged in raising the siege at the time of its surrender.

The besieging force was reduced to less than 10,000 men, of which more than half were enlisted for nine months' service, and a few regiments of colored troops organized since the campaign opened from the material gathered from the country. The position assailed was, from the natural defenses of the country, as well as from the character of the works constructed, believed by the enemy to be impregnable. The besieging army, to reach the position, hail marched more than 500 miles, through a country where no single line of supplies could be maintained, against a force fully equal in numbers, fighting only in intrenchments, and gathering material for re-enforcing its regiments in the country through which it passed. There are but few sieges in the history of war in which the disparity of forces has been more marked, the difficulties to be encountered more numerous, the victory more decided, or the results more important.

Every officer and man who discharged his duty in that campaign, whether living or dead, will leave an honored name to his descendants, and receive hereafter, if not now, the grateful and well-merited applause of his country. The results of the surrender of Vicksburg and Port Hudson were the permanent separation of the rebel States east and west, and the free navigation of the Mississippi, thus opening communication between the Northern and Southern States occupied by our forces, and an outlet for the products of the Upper Mississippi Valley to the markets of the world.

The two armies that had fought each other with such resolute determination fraternized on the day of the surrender without manifestations of hostility or hatred. A common valor had given birth to a feeling of mutual respect.

Brig. Gen. T. W. Sherman was seriously wounded in the assault of May 27, and Brigadier-General Paine on June 14. Among those killed during the siege were Colonel Bean, of the Fourth Wisconsin; Colonel Holcomb, of the First Louisiana; Col. D. S. Cowles, of the One hundred and twenty-eighth New York; Lieutenant-Colonel Rodman, of the Thirty-eighth Massachusetts; Lieutenant-Colonel Lull, of the Eighth New Hampshire; Colonel Smith, of the One hundred and sixty-fifth New York Zouaves; Colonel Chapin, of the One hundred and sixteenth New York; Major Haffkille  and Captain Luce, of the Engineers; Lieutenant Wrotnowski, and many other gallant officers whose names, in the absence of official records, it is not in my power to give, who gave their lives to the cause of liberty and their country.

In this campaign we captured 10,584 prisoners, as follows: Paroled men at Port Hudson, exclusive of the sick and wounded, 5,953--officers, 455; captured by Grierson at Jackson, 150; First [Arkansas Battalion] and Fifteenth Arkansas captured May 27, 101; on board steamers in Thompson's Creek, 25; deserters, 250; sick and wounded, 1,000; captured at Donaldsonville, June 28, 150; captured west of the Mississippi, 2,500; in all, a number fully equal to the force to which the garrison surrendered. We also captured 73 guns, 4,500 pounds of powder, 150,000 rounds of ammunition, 6,000 small-arms, 4 steamers, 20,000 head of horses, cattle, and mules, 10,000 bales of cotton, and destroyed the enemy's salt-works at New Iberia, 3 gunboats, and 8 steam transports. The cattle, horses, mules, cotton, and other products of the country were sent to New Orleans, turned over to the quartermaster, and, except such as could be used by the army in kind, were applied to the support of the Government.

August 5, a dispatch was received and published, from the General-in-Chief of the Army, congratulating the troops on the crowning success of the campaign, for whom was reserved the honor of striking the last blow for the freedom of the Mississippi River, and announcing that the country, and especially the great West, would ever remember with gratitude their services.**


After the surrender of Port Hudson, I joined with General Grant in recommending an immediate movement against the city of Mobile. My views upon the question were expressed in several dispatches in July and August. With such aid as General Grant had offered and subsequently gave me, a speedy capture of that city seemed to be reasonably certain.

On the 15th of August, 1863, I was informed by a dispatch, dated the 6th of that month, that there were important reasons why our flag should be established in Texas with the least possible delay, and instructing me that the movement should be made as speedily as possible, either by sea or land. I was informed by a dispatch dated the 12th of August, and which I received on the 27th of August, that the importance of the operations proposed by me in a previous dispatch against the city of Mobile was fully appreciated, but there were reasons other than military why those directed in Texas should be undertaken first; that on this matter there was no choice, and that the views of the Government must be carried out. I was advised in a dispatch, dated the 10th of August, that the restoration of the flag to some one point in Texas could be best effected by the combined naval and military movements upon Red River to Alexandria, Natchitoches, or Shreveport, and the occupation of Northern Texas. This line was recommended as superior for military operations to the occupation of Galveston or Indianola, but the final selection was left to my judgment.

The difficulties attending a movement in the direction of Shreveport--a route which had been thoroughly explored in the spring campaign of 1863--satisfied me that it was impracticable, if not impossible, for the purposes entertained by the Government. The selection of the line of operations having been submitted to me, I made immediate preparations for a movement by the coast against Houston, selecting the position occupied by the enemy on the Sabine as the point of attack. This point was nearest to my base of supplies. It was immediately connected by the Gulf with Berwick Bay, of which we had full possession, and by the river, and also by railway from the bay, with New Orleans.

If suddenly occupied, I regarded it certain, as the enemy's forces were then disposed, that we could concentrate and move upon Houston by land with 15,000 to 17,000 men before it would be possible for the enemy to collect his forces for its defense. The occupation of Houston would place in our hands the control of all the railway communications of Texas; give us command of the most populous and productive part of the State; enable us to move at any moment into the interior in any direction, or to fall back upon the Island of Galveston, which could be maintained with a very small force, holding the enemy upon the coast of Texas, and leaving the Army of the Gulf free to move upon Mobile, in accordance with my original plan or whenever it should be required. The expedition sailed from New Orleans on the 5th day of September. Its organization and command had been intrusted to Maj. Gen. W. B. Franklin. The gunboats assigned to the expedition by Admiral Farragut were under command of Captain Crocker, a skillful and brave officer. He was thoroughly acquainted with the waters of the Sabine Pass, having been stationed there for many months, and was anxious to participate in the expedition. The forces were organized for operations upon land. The gunboats were intended to assist and cover their debarkation and movements upon the coast. At various points, between the Sabine and Galveston, a landing was practicable and safe. Unless the weather or the forces of the enemy should intervene, nothing could prevent a successful debarkation of troops at some point upon the coast.

General Franklin's instructions were verbal and written. He was directed to land his troops 10 or 12 miles below Sabine Pass, or at some other point on the coast below, and proceed by a rapid movement against the fortifications constructed for the defense of the Pass, unless the naval officers should find, upon reconnaissance, that the works were unoccupied, or that they were able to take them without delay. Nothing was wanting to secure the success of the expedition. The troops were in good condition, the weather fine, the sea smooth, and the enemy without suspicion of the movement. Instead, however, of moving below the Pass and effecting a landing of the troops, General Franklin states in his report that it was determined that Captain Crocker should enter the Pass and make an attack directly upon the works. The gunboats (originally lightly constructed merchant vessels) were unable to make any impression upon the works. They soon run aground in the shallow water and narrow channel of the Pass, under the guns of the fort, and were compelled to surrender. The enemy's position was occupied and defended by less than 100 men. The troops under General Franklin made an unsuccessful, and, as it appeared afterward, a feeble effort to land within the bay, after the loss of two gunboats, and returned to New Orleans without attempting a landing below upon the coast in rear of the works. Had a landing been effected, even after the loss of the boats, in accordance with the original plan, the success of the movement would have been complete, but as it regarded the occupation of Sabine Pass and operations against Houston and Galveston, the enemy had at this time all his forces in that quarter, and less than 100 men on the Sabine.

The failure of this expedition having notified the enemy of our poses, it was impracticable to repeat the attempt at that point. The instructions of the Government being imperative, I then endeavored, without delay, to carry out my instructions by a movement toward Alexandria and Shreveport, or, if possible, across the southern part of Louisiana to Niblett's Bluff. The attack upon Sabine Pass was made on the 8th of September. The fleet returned on the 11th; on the 13th, orders were given for the overland movement. The troops were rapidly transferred to the Teche Bayou, and organized for this expedition, but it was soon found impracticable, if not impossible, to enter Texas in that direction. The country between the Teche and the Sabine was without supplies of any kind, and entirely without water, and the march across that country of 300 miles with wagon transportation alone, where we were certain to meet the enemy in full force, was necessarily abandoned. A movement in the direction of Alexandria and Shreveport was equally impracticable. The route lay over a country utterly destitute of supplies, which had been repeatedly overrun by the two armies, and which involved a march of 500 miles from New Orleans and nearly 400 miles from Berwick Bay, with wagon transportation only, in a country without water, forage, or supplies, mostly upon a single road, very thickly wooded, and occupied by a thoroughly hostile population.

Being satisfied that it was impossible to execute the orders of the Government by this route for these reasons, which were stated in my several dispatches, I decided, as the only alternative left me for the execution of the orders of the Government, to attempt the occupation of the Rio Grande, which I had suggested on the 13th September as an alternative if the land route was found impracticable. Leaving the troops opposite Berwick Bay upon the land route into Texas, I organized a small expedition, the troops being placed under command of Maj. Gen. N. J. T. Dana, and sailed on the 26th of October, 1863, for the Rio Grande. A landing was effected at Brazos Santiago, which was occupied by the enemy's cavalry and artillery, the 2d day of November. The enemy was driven from his position the next day, and the troops ordered forward to Brownsville, 30 miles from the mouth of the river. Colonel Dye, of the Ninety-fourth Illinois Volunteers, commanding the advance, occupied Brownsville on the 6th day of November, where, a few hours after his arrival, I made my headquarters. Major-General Dana was left in command of this post. As soon as it was possible to provide for the garrison and obtain transportation for the navigation of the river, which occupied four or five days, I moved, with all the troops which could be spared from that point, for the purpose of occupying the passes on the coast between the Rio Grande and Galveston, intending to complete my original plan by the occupation of Galveston from the coast below instead of above. Point Isabel was occupied on the 8th [6th] of November. By the aid of steamers, obtained on the Rio Grande with the consent of the Mexican Government, we were enabled to transport troops to Mustang Island. The troops were under the command of Brig. Gen. T. E. G. Ransom, who carried the enemy's works commanding Aransas Pass, after a gallant assault, capturing 100 prisoners and the artillery with which the place was defended. The troops instantly moved upon Pass Cavallo, commanding the entrance to Mata-gorda Bay, and which was also defended by strong and extensive fortifications and a force of 2,000 men, artillery, cavalry, and infantry, who could be re-enforced in any emergency from Houston and Galveston. The troops were under command of Maj. Gen. C. C. Washburn, then commanding the Thirteenth Corps.

Fort Esperanza was invested, and, after a most gallant action, the enemy blew up his magazine, partially dismantled his defenses, and evacuated the position, the major part of his men escaping to the mainland by the peninsula near the mouth of the Brazos.

The occupation of Brownsville, Brazos Santiago, the capture of the works and garrison at Aransas Pass, and the defeat of the enemy and the capture of his works at Fort Esperanza by our troops, left nothing on the coast in his possession but the works at the mouth of Brazos River and on the Island of Galveston, which were formidable, and defended by all the forces of the enemy in Texas. The command of General Magruder had been withdrawn from different parts of the State and concentrated on the coast between Houston, Galveston, and Indianola, in consequence of our movement against the works at Sabine Pass, the occupation of the Rio Grande, and the capture of the works constructed for the defense of Aransas Pass and Pass Cavallo, on the Texas coast. To carry the works at the mouth of Brazos River, it was necessary to move inland and to attack the enemy in the rear, in which w e necessarily encountered the entire strength of the rebel forces, then greatly superior in number to ours.

Preparations were made for more extended operations on the mainland from Indianola at Matagorda Bay or on the peninsula connecting with the mainland at Brazos River, and notice given to the War Department of the plan of operations, with the request for an increase of the forces for extended operations in Texas, if it was found expedient. The troops on the Teche, under command of Major-General Franklin, would have been transferred to the coast in such force as to make certain the occupation of Houston or Galveston. From this point I intended to withdraw my troops to the Island of Galveston, which could have been held with perfect security by less than 1,000 men, which would have left me free to resume my operations, suggested in August and September, against Mobile. The Rio Grande and the Island of Galveston could have been held with 2,000 or 3,000 men. This would have cut off the contraband trade of the enemy at Matamoras and on the Texas coast. The forces occupying the Island of Galveston could have been strengthened by sea at any moment from Berwick Bay, connecting with New Orleans by railway, or with New Orleans by the river, compelling the enemy to maintain an army near Houston, and preventing his concentrating his forces for the invasion of Louisiana, Arkansas, or Missouri.

The occupation of the Rio Grande, Galveston, and Mobile would have led to the capture or destruction of all the enemy's river and sea transportation on the Gulf coast, and left the west gulf blockading squadron, numbering one hundred and fifty vessels and mounting four hundred and fifty guns, free to pursue the pirates that infested our coast and preyed upon our commerce.

The army would have been at liberty to operate on the Mississippi or to co-operate with the Army of the Tennessee, by the Alabama River and Montgomery, in the campaign against Atlanta.

These general views are substantially expressed in my dispatches of the 12th and 30th December, 1863.

If successfully accomplished, it would have enabled the Government to concentrate the entire forces of the Department of the Gulf, as occasion should require, at any point on the river or coast against an enemy without water transportation or other means of operation than by heavy land marches, or to move by land into the rebel States east or west of the Mississippi. The winter months offered a favorable opportunity for such enterprise.

I remain, your obedient servant,


 Major-General of Volunteers.


 Washington, D.C.



New Orleans, February 19, 1864.

I. The following-named regiments and batteries of the Nineteenth Army Corps will immediately have inscribed upon their colors the names of the several actions set opposite their names, wherein they have borne a distinguished part, as follows:

12th Maine Volunteers, Irish Bend, Port Hudson.

14th Maine Volunteers, Baton Rouge, Port Hudson.

8th Vermont Volunteers, Cotton, Bisland, Port Hudson.

26th Massachusetts Volunteers, La Fourche.

30th Massachusetts Volunteers, Baton Rouge, Plains Store, Port Hudson, Cox's Plantation.

31st Massachusetts Volunteers, Bisland, Port Hudson.

38th Massachusetts Volunteers, Bisland, Port Hudson.

12th Connecticut Volunteers, Georgia Landing, Cotton, Bisland, Port Hudson.

13th Connecticut Volunteers, Georgia Landing, Irish Bend, Port Hudson.

75th New York Volunteers, Cotton, Bisland, Port Hudson.

90th New York Volunteers, Port Hudson.

91st New York Volunteers, Port Hudson.

110th New York Volunteers, Bisland.

114th New York Volunteers, Bisland, Port Hudson.

116th New York Volunteers, Plains Store, Port Hudson, Cox's Plantation.

128th New York Volunteers, Port Hudson.

131st New York Volunteers, Port Hudson.

133 New York Volunteers, Bisland, Port Hudson.

156th New York Volunteers, Bisland, Port Hudson.

159th New York Volunteers, Irish Bend, Port Hudson.

160th New York Volunteers, Cotton, Bisland, Port Hudson.

161st New York Volunteers, Plains Store, Port Hudson, Cox's Plantation.

162d New York Volunteers, Bisland, Port Hudson.

165th New York Volunteers, Port Hudson.

173d New York Volunteers, Port Hudson.

174th New York Volunteers, Plains Store, Port Hudson, Cox's Plantation.

175th New York Volunteers, Bisland, Port Hudson.

176th New York Volunteers, La Fourche.

1st Louisiana Volunteers, Port Hudson.

2d Louisiana Volunteers, Plains Store, Port Hudson, Cox's Plantation.

1st New Hampshire Cavalry,*** Georgia Landing, Bisland, Port Hudson.

3d Massachusetts Cavalry, Company L, Georgia Landing, Port Hudson.

4th Wisconsin Cavalry, Bisland, Clinton, Port Hudson.

1st Louisiana Cavalry, Companies A, B, C, Georgia Landing, Cotton, Port Hudson.

6th Michigan Artillery, Baton Rouge, Cotton, Port Hudson.

1st Indiana Heavy Artillery, Baton Rouge, Cotton, Bisland, Port Hudson.

Battery A, 1st U.S. Artillery, Cotton, Bisland, Port Hudson.

Battery F, 1st U.S. Artillery, Bisland, Port Hudson.

Battery L, 1st U.S. Artillery, Port Hudson.

Battery C, 2d U.S. Artillery, Irish Bend, Port Hudson.

Battery G, 5th U.S. Artillery, Port Hudson.

1st Maine Battery, Georgia Landing, Cotton, Bisland, Port Hudson, Cox's Plantation.

1st Vermont Battery, Port Hudson.

2d Vermont Battery, Plains Store, Port Hudson.

2d Massachusetts Battery, Baton Rouge, Port Hudson.

4th Massachusetts Battery, Baton Rouge, Cotton, Port Hudson.

6th Massachusetts Battery, Baton Rouge, Georgia Landing, Cotton, Bisland, Port Hudson.

13th Massachusetts Battery, Port Hudson.

18th New York Battery, Bisland, Port Hudson.

21st New York Battery, Port Hudson.

25th New York Battery. La Fourche.

II. The following are the dates at which the above named actions took place:

Baton Rouge, August 5, 1862.

Georgia Landing, October 27, 1862.

Cotton, January 14, 1863.

Bisland, April 12 and 13, 1863.

Irish Bend, April 14, 1863.

Plains Store, May 21, 1863.

Clinton, June 3, 1863.

La Fourche, June 21, 1863.

Port Hudson: Invested, May 24, 1863; assaulted, May 27 and June14, 1863; surrendered, July 7, 1863.

Cox's Plantation, July 13, 1863.

By command of Major-General Banks:


Assistant Adjutant-General.


* But see report of Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney, p. 192.

** See General Orders, No. 57, Headquarters Department of the Gulf, August 5, 1863, p. 671

*** The Eighth New Hamphsire

+ See letter of transmittal, p. 5.

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