this move is to keep the enemy from drawing supplies from that rich region (and use them ourselves) and to attack the attention of the enemy in that direction. The navigation is practicable for our iron-clads and small steamers through to the Yazoo River, by the route lately tried by Admiral Porter, with the exception of a few hundred yards in Deer Creek, near Rolling Fork. This was obstructed by the enemy, and they are now guarding and fortifying there. This move will have a tendency to make them throw in an additional force there and move some of their guns. My forces had as well be there as here until I want to use them. A reconnaissance to Haynes' Bluff demonstrates the impracticability of attacking that place during the present stage of water. The WEST bank of the river is densely wooded and is under water. The east bank only runs up to the bluff for a short distance below the raft, then diverges, leaving a bottom widening all the way down, in most part covered by water, and all of it next to the bluffs so covered. The hillsides are lined with rifle pits, with embrasures here and there for field artillery. To storm this, but a small force could be used at the outset.
With the present batteries of the enemy, the canal across the point can be of but little use. There is a system of bayous running from Milliken's Bend, and also from near the river at this point, that are navigable for barges and small steamers passing around by Richmond to New Carthage. The dredges are now engaged cutting a canal from here into these bayous. I am having all the empty coal and other barges prepared for carrying troops and artillery, and have written to Colonel [Robert] Allen for some more, and also for six tugs to tow them. With these it would be easy to carry supplies to New Carthage, and for any point south of that.
My expectation is for a portion of the naval fleet to run the batteries of Vicksburg, whilst the army moves through by this new route. Once there, I will move either of these points there are good roads to Vicksburg, and from Grand Gulf there is a good road to Jackson and the Black River Bridge without crossing Black River.
This is the only move I now see as practicable, and hopeur approval. I will keep my army together, and see to it that I am not cut off from my supplies, or beaten in any other way than in fair fight. The discipline and health of this army is now good, and I am satisfied the greatest confidence of success prevails.
I have directed General Webster to commence the reconstruction of the railroad between Grand Junction and Corinth. The labor will be performed by the engineer regiment and contrabands, thus saving additional expense. The streams will be crossed on piles. In this way the work should be done by the first of May.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,
[Inclosure Number 1.]
April 1, 1863.
Major General U. S. GRANT,
GENERAL: THE present situation of the enemy's forces is submitted to you: Brigadier General S. A. [M.] Wood, commanding Northern Alabama, headquarters Florence; about 4,000 men, mostly mounted; two batteries artillery; pickets along line of Bear Creek. Colonel [C. R.] Barteau's brigade of cavalry, lately re-enforced; headquarters Verona; pickets to