MEMPHIS, TENN., March 24, 1863-3 p. m.
VIA CAIRO, ILL., March 27.
The Yazoo Pass expedition has retreated up the Yalabusha (according to General B. M. Prentiss) a distance of 100 miles, removing the guns from the battery planted against Fort Pemberton. It now waits for re-enforcements and supplies, the gunboat Chillicothe having gotten out of ammunition. Some of the small boats attached to this expedition, however, are reported to me by Paymaster [Edwin D.] Judd (who left Young's Point Friday) as having succeeded in passing Pemberton. Those have come down the Yazoo and made their way into Steele's Bayou, near Vicksburg. Judd saw them, and saw a messenger from them who communicated with General Grant. Learning from this source that the Yazoo was accessible from Steele's Bayou, General Grant has already moved D. Stuart's (formerly Morgan Smith's) DIVISION, 6,000 strong, under Sherman, into the Yazoo from Eagle Bend, on the Mississippi, about 40 miles above Vicksburg. The strip of land between that bend and Steele's Bayou is 1 1/2 miles wide. J. McArthur's DIVISION, of McPherson's corps, was to move yesterday from Lake Providence to Eagle Bend to re-enforce Sherman, making his whole force about 13,000 men. I learn from General N. Kimball, who left Young's Point on Saturday afternoon, that Admiral Porter, with gunboats, has entered the Yazoo above Haynes' Bluff by way of Steele's Bayou. The movement across from Greenville to re-enforce the Yazoo Pass expedition has been abandoned, the route being impracticable, and the DIVISION (Quinby's) by which it was attempted is at Helena, waiting for transportation through the pass. J. E. Smith's DIVISION, McPherson's corps, was to move from Helena into the pass this morning. The water is now flowing freely through the whole length of the canal opposite Vicksburg, but produces no effect in wearing away the compact clay soil, which in the lower half of its course is especially tenacious. The dredging machines are inadequate to complete the excavations, and the water, through too shallow for the boats, is too deep for men to dig in. Both Kimball and Judd think it is a failure, but Admiral Farragut having arrived from below on Friday with the vessels Hartford and Albatross, the failure is of less consequence. In coming up, Admiral Farragut drove the Queen of the WEST and the rebel boats into the Big Black, where he could not follow them with his deep vessels. Admiral Porter had ordered the Lafayette to pass Vicksburg and join Farragut Saturday night. Kimball reports Lake Providence Canal will now freely and safely pass the largest vessels through into Red River. Kimball thinks the enemy are already moving away material and preparing to evacuate Vicksburg.
The cutting of the Mississippi levees has flooded the whole country, and their only avenue of supplies or of escape is now the Jackson Railroad. General Grant is dead sure that he will have the place within a fortnight.
C. A. DANA.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
MEMPHIS, TENN., March 25, 1863-5 p. m.
VIA CAIRO, ILL., March 27.
A steamer which left Young's Point Landing arrived this morning; reports no news. Some officers came by her, but I have vainly tried to
5 R R-VOL XXIV, PT. I