War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0635 Chapter XVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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of carrying the enemy's works, now that the attack has begun, but it is distinctly to be understood that no manner of assistance has been or, from appearances, can be rendered us by the gunboats of the flotilla. Commodore Foote declines to run any of his boats past the batteries for fear of losing them. I have offered, through Colonel Bissell, engineers to secure the boat against damage from the enemy's fire, but Commodore Foote fears that the enemy may board her. Surely such a risk is much less than will be that of crossing a large force in frail boats over a wide, swift river, int eh face of an enemy, and without anything to cover the landing. I shall, however, carry out the operation; but I would respectfully suggest that if any plan of operations down this river has been made with the belief that our gunboat flotilla can dislodge the enemy from any batteries they choose to place on the main-land or on the islands, it must of necessity fail. Unless the gunboats are able to perform what has been asserted for them, the line of the river is the strongest the enemy has. If the enemy have planted batteries on the upper end of any island below us, we will have the same delay and difficulty we have had here. I must disembark, pass around by land, establish batteries below the enemy, and wait until they are starved out, as it is not likely that other places will be found where canals can be dug, so as to bring transports below the enemy's batteries without passing in range. Even if such places could be found, wherever the enemy established a battery I would be obliged, as I am now, to cross, without cover or the aid of gunboats, in the face of the enemy. Of course, if the land forces are to cross and recross this river at every battery of the enemy along its banks and on the islands and carry their works, we must be delayed in our progress beyond all reason and must certainly sustain some disaster.

I write you frankly the facts, as I know you desire to have them. The newspaper puffing concerning the gunboats has misled the public greatly. I think it has been a fact sufficiently well established by experience that batteries on the water, especially where they have not the force to land and storm, cannot contend with redoubts on the land. The enemy here has been unable, with all his gunboats, to dislodge the riflemen and small artillery batteries I have established. Batteries of heavy guns would be still more difficult. The enemy exposes none of his men in the batteries except those at the guns, and as he does not fear a land attack or any attempt to storm on the part of the flotilla, he scarcely answers Commodore Foote's cannonade. Colonel Bissell, whom I sent up, informs me that the enemy only fired twice during the day he was there. I state these facts because I think it proper that it should be understood precisely what is the exact capacity of the naval flotilla in such operations, and because it seems to me that we are undertaking a most difficult line of operations if the land forces are to be crossed and recrossed at every battery the enemy chooses to establish. the result of seven days' operations of the gunboats has plainly shown that they are not likely to reduce any of the enemy's batteries. I have also to complain that the corps of newspaper correspondents with the flotilla have been put in possession of my plans for bringing down boats here by digging a canal and have published it in the newspapers. I fear to write anything, lest I see it in a day or two in all the newspapers in the country. My dispatches to Colonel Buford and Commodore Foote concerning the blockade of the river below them were official, and not designed for publication. I regret to trouble you with such matters, but if my intentions and movements are published