War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0030 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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MEMPHIS, TENN., April 17, 1863.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief:

Seven gunboats and three transports ran the Vicksburg batteries last night. The crew of the steamer Henry Clay, excepting the pilot, deserted soon after getting under fire. The boat took fire and burned up. One other transport slightly damaged. One man killed and 3 wounded on the Benton. No further casualties reported. A number of barges were also sent.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

Forwarded from Memphis and sent by steamer to Cairo. The secessionists here report Vicksburg abandoned.

S. A. HURLBUT,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,

Milliken's Bend, La., April 19, 1863.

General H. W. HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I returned last night from New Carthage, at and near which place Admiral Porter's fleet is lying (six iron-clads and the ram General Price), together with two DIVISIONS of General McClernand's corps. The whole of his corps is between Richmond and New Carthage.

I had all the empty barges here prepared for the transportation of troops and artillery, and sent ten of them by the Vicksburg batteries with the fleet. While under the guns of the enemy's batteries they were cut loose, and I fear that some of them have been permitted to run past New Carthage undiscovered. They were relied upon to aid in the transportation of troops to take Grand Gulf.

The wagon road from here to within 2 miles of New Carthage is good for artillery. From that point on the bayou, levee is broken in a number of places, making cross currents in the bayou; hence it is difficult to navigate with barges. I think, by using our dredges constantly, until there is 20 feet fall. On this subject, however, I have not taken the opinion of an engineer officer, nor have I formed it upon sufficient investigation to warrant me in speaking positively.

Our experiment of running the batteries at Vicksburg, I think, has demonstrated the entire practicability of doing so with but little risk. On this occasion our vessels went down even slower than the current, using their wheels principally for backing. Two of the steamers were drawn into the eddy, and ran over a part of the distance in front of Vicksburg three times. I shall send six more steamers by the batteries as soon as they can possibly be got ready.

I sent a dispatch to General Banks that I thought I could send an army corps to Bayou Sara to co-operate with him on Port Hudson by the 25th. This will now be impossible. There shall be no unnecessary delay, however, in my movements. I hope very soon to be able to report our possession of Grand Gulf, with a practicable and safe route to