and myself immediately joined Captain Roe's party, which had been here for some time.
I found the whole party, upon inspection, very well equipped and ready for the field. I established constant daily practice during the few days we were here.
On the 13th instant I received orders to furnish the flag-ship Hartford with two signal officers and the iron-clad Essex with one. I accordingly sent First Lieutenant S. M. Eaton and Second Lieutenant J. C. Abbott, with two flagmen, for the Hartford, and First Lieutenant Jenks, with two flagmen, for the Essex.
I also, under orders, detailed Lieutenants Hallett, Dane, and Rundlett, with their flagmen, to accompany Brigadier-General Grover, commanding division. Captain Roe and Lieutenant Russell were to accompany me with Headquarters Department of the Gulf.
General Grover took the advance. No occasion was had from the use of signals until we arrived at a point called Barnes' Cross-Roads, 14 miles from this place and 6 from Port Hudson.
The fleet had in the mean time sailed up the river to the head of Profit's Island, about 4 miles below Port Hudson. Reference to the map inclosed herewith will show the position.* Barnes' Cross-Roads is about 5 miles from the river. I was ordered to dispatch an officer to the river (Springfield Landing) to open communication with the fleet. Lieutenant Hallett, with two flagmen and an escort of cavalry, proceeded immediately to the point designated and opened communication with the Hartford. I inclose a copy herewith of his report to me, which contains a copy of messages sent and received.
The country between the Cross-Roads and the river is flat and heavily timbered, so that signaling could not be effected without much difficultly and as we were to remain there but a few hours we did not attempt it. Messages were sent between us and Lieutenant Hallett by couriers.
We remained at the Cross-Roads during the night of the 14th instant. About 11 o'clock p. m. our fleet attempted to pass the batteries at Port Hudson. The Hartford and Albatross got safely past. The others wee disable d and were obliged to return. The war-steamer Mississippi got aground just under the batteries. The crew, after suffering heavy loss, set her on fire and abandoned her. After burning a while she floated off and down the river, and finally blew up with a tremendous explosion. The remaining vessels of the fleet were but temporarily damaged, with slight loss.
On the morning of the 15th instant we took up line of march toward Baton Rouge (having accomplished our object), arriving here in the a gun was fired during he trip.
Upon reaching here the general desired me to open communication across the point of land opposite Port Hudson, between our fleet at Profit's Island and the Hartford, above Port Hudson. A brigade was detailed as escort; Captain roe, with three officers, accompanied the expedition. Upon crossing the neck of land they ascertained that the Hartford had gone upon the river. The expedition returned without seeing the Hartford. Lieutenant Eaton is aboard the Harford, if not killed. Lieutenant Abbott was transferred to the sloop-of-war Richmond before her attempt to pass the batteries, where he still remains. Lieutenant Jenks still remains on board the Essex.