a modification of my plan of yesterday [necessary]. There is a high, good levee back from Yazoo River, along the Chickasaw Bayou, to the high land. This levee reaches the river about half a mile up the Yazoo up to the bluff on which the enemy has a battery. Leave Bair where he is, and send him instructions to follow the directions in the order of yesterday, viz, to advance on Morgan's right and act with him. You will come together at the main bluff, where Blair can join you. Embark your other two brigades, without the wagons or other encumbrances, run up to the mouth of the bayou and disembark under the cover of the gunboats, and operate back along that levee toward the bluff, keeping as near as you can abreast of Morgan, and effect a junctom with him as soon as you can. While you are thus moving, a part of your forces may operate along the levee up toward Haines' Bluff, to drive off the men who work the torpedoes. Instead of being the center, you thus become the left flank. Morgan will be notified of it, and act accordingly. Admiral Porter ia also advised, and will dispatch the Benton up in advance of you. Captain Gwin, of the Benton, will give you full information of the levees which he has reconnoitered.
I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN,
CAMP, December 30, 1862.
Admiral DAVID D. PORTER:
DEAR SIR: I am satisfied, had our troops been a little more experienced, we should have secured possession of the hill opposite the head of Chickasaw Creek, which appears to be strongly connected with the ridge leading to Vicksburg. After a close personal reconnaissance in person to-day, I am satisfied to cross the bayou through the narrow paths and abatis will be fatal to a large proportion of my command. Of course, Vicksburg is the prime object, but the Yazoo River is equally important, looking to connection with General Grant, whom I expected to be near enough on our arrival to influence the fate of this movement.
After a dark and rainy night the sky is against clear, and the bayous are little changed. I think there must be a point of disembarkation for troops this side of Haines' Bluff, from which that battery could be stormed without the exposure that marks all the crossing places here. If you concur, and permit all the iron-clads to ascend and engage the battery, I will order 10,000 of my best troops to embark by night, and, as secretly as possible, proceed to attack that battery by assault, at the same time opening all my batteries here on the opposite bank, and, if possible, make a new attempt. Haines' Bluff in our possession, we have a firm footing on terra firma, which we have not here. Unless Grant be near at hand, I cannot promise success in a direct assault on Vicksburg. My troops are all up to the bayou, with guns covering the crossings, only two of which are passable, but I have not succeeded in making a lodgment. My pickets on the right reach the Mississippi River near the bend, from which they have a plain view of all the forts, court timber of great size, filled with sharpshooters, with whom ours are constantly skirmishing. The enemy has thrown some shell, but manifestly spares his ammunition; we do the same. I would solicit a speedy an-