do, I have enough employment for the vessels here to patrol the river and occupy those posts which have been partially deserted, or where apprehensive of invasion is felt.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DAVID D. PORTER,
Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.
[Inclosure Numbers 4.]
UNITED STATES MISSISSIPPI SQUADRON,
White River, January 18, 1863.
Honorable GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy.
SIR: The army will move to-morrow on Vicksburg with re-enforcements furnished by General Grant, who, I believe, will accompany the expedition as commander-in-chief. Had the combinations been carried out in our last expedition, General Grant advancing by Grenada, General Bansk up the river, and General Sherman down the rive, the whole matter would have assumed a different aspect; but General Sherman was the only one on the ground. The army of General Grant had been cut off from its supplies; General Banks never came up the river; and General Sherman, having attempted to take the enemy by surprise, lost about 700 wounded, 300 killed, and about 400 prisoners. All this was owing to Colonel De Courcy (who has since resigned) not following General Blair, who has no difficulty in getting into the works of the enemy. Had our troops been able to hold these works for three minutes, Vicksburg would have been ours; but that chance was lost and will not offer again. The enemy crowed in 20,000 men from Grenada and 10,000 from Jackson, and outnumbered us two to one. The rain forced General Sherman to embark, and we did so without the enemy being aware of it until everything was on board. Not a thing off con down three regiments, with field pieces, to attack the line of transports, which was covered at every point by the gunboats and light-draughts. The Lexington, Marmora, Queen of the West, and Monarch opened on the enemy with shrapnel, and cut them up very severely, causing them to fly in all directions, and not losing a man on our side. This is a short history of this affair. The operations to come will be of a different character. It will be a tedious siege-the first step, in my opinion, toward a successful attack on Vicksburg, which has been made very strong by land and water. I have always thought the late attempt was premature, but sometimes these dashes succeed, and certain it is that, but for the want of nerve in the leader of a brigade, the army would have succeeded.
The operations of the Navy in the Yazoo are worthy to be ranked amongst the brightens events of the war. The officers in charge of getting up the torpedoes and clearing 8 miles of the river distinguished themselves by their patient endurance and cool courage under a galling fire of musketry from well-protected and unseen riflemen, and the crews of the boats exhibited a courage and coolness seldom equaled. The Navy will scarcely ever get credit for these events. They are not brilliant enough to satisfy our impatient people at the North, who know little of the difficulties attending and expedition like the one mentioned, or how much officers and men are exposing themselves, while they wonder why we do not demolish mountains of granite.
The Department may rest assured that the navy here is never idle. The army depends on us to take entire charge of them on the water,