south, through Roundaway Bayou, into the Tensas River. Their report of the practicability of this route determined me to commence work upon it. Having three dredge-boats at the time, the work of opening this route was executed with great rapidity. One small steamer and a number of barges were taken through the channel thus opened, but the river commencing about the middle of April to fall rapidly, and the roads becoming passable between Milliken's Bend and New Carthage, made it impracticable and unnecessary to open water communication between these points.
Soon after commencing the first canal spoken of, I caused a channel to be cut from the Mississippi River into Lake Providence; also one from the Mississippi River into Coldwater, by way of Yazoo Pass.
I had no great expectations of important results from the former of these, but having more troops than could be employed to advantage at Young's Point, and knowing that Lake Providence was connected by Bayou Baxter with Bayou Macon, a navigable stream, through which transports might pass into the Mississippi below, through Tensas, Washita, and Red Rivers, I thought it possible that a route might be opened in that direction which would enable me to co-operate with General Banks on Port Hudson.
By the Yazoo Pass route I only expected at first to get into the Yazoo by way of Coldwater and Tallahatchee with some lighter gunboats and a few troops, and destroy the enemy's transports in that stream and some gunboats which I knew he was building. The navigation, however, proved so much better than had been expected that I thought for a time of the possibility of making this the route for obtaining a foothold on high land above Haynes' Bluff, MISS., and small-class steamers were accordingly ordered for transporting an army that way.
Major General J. B. McPherson, commanding SEVENTEENTH Army Corps, was directed to hold his corps in readiness to move by this route, and one DIVISION each from the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Corps were collected near the entrance of the pass, to be added to his command. It soon became evident that a sufficient number of boats of the right class could not be obtained for the movement of more than one DIVISION.
While my forces were opening one end of the pass, the enemy was diligently closing the other end, and in this way succeeding in gaining time to strongly fortify Greenwood, below the junction of the Tallahatchee and Yalabusha. The advance of the expedition, consisting of one DIVISION of McClernand's corps, from Helena, commanded by Brigadier General L. F. Ross, and the Twelfth and SEVENTEENTH Regiments Missouri Infantry, from Sherman's corps, as sharpshooters on the gunboats, succeeded in reaching Coldwater March 2, after much difficulty and the partial disabling of most of the boats. From the entrance into Coldwater to Fort Pemberton, at Greenwood, MISS., no great difficulty of navigation was experienced, nor any interruption of magnitude from the enemy. Fort Pemberton extends from the Tallahatchee to the Yazoo at Greenwood. Here the two rivers come within a few hundred yards of each other. The land around the fort is low, and at the time of the attack was entirely overflowed. Owing to this fact, no movement could be made by the army to reduce it, but all depended upon the ability of the gunboats to silence the guns of the enemy and enable the transports to run down and land troops immediately on the fort itself.
After an engagement of several hours, the gunboats drew off, being unable to silence the batteries. Brigadier General I. F. Quinby, commanding a DIVISION of McPherson's corps, met the expedition under Ross with