MEMPHIS, TENN., April 2, 1863.
General J. D. Webster, of General Grant's staff, who left Young's Point Tuesday afternoon, arrived here this evening. From him I have authentic information. General Grant has no intention of either withdrawing the bulk of his army or attempting a direct assault on Vicksburg. When Webster left, arrangements had been completed for beginning into the Mississippi at Milliken's Bend to a point below Warrenton. Extent of canal to be dug is from one-half to two-thirds of a mile. The bayou will also have to be straightened and widened in one or two places and cleared of trees. Webster thinks that the job will not require more than two weeks' time. Another plan, which is also contemplated, is to float empty transports past Vicksburg in the dark, having steam enough to save them from floating ashore in case of need, but not enough to betray their presence to the enemy. Having got them past, Grant's troops can be marched down on the Louisiana side, embarked below the rebel batteries, and conveyed to the point where they will most effectually threaten the bridge over the Big Black. Our engineers have constructed two casemates on the shore opposite Vicksburg, whence with 30-pounder Parrotts they can destroy any building in the town. The distance is some 3,000 yards. These casemates are of timber covered with railroad iron and protected by embankments. When Webster left, they were nearly completed, but as the work was done at night they had not attracted the attention of the enemy. They are the more safe because, little lateral play being required for the guns, their embrasures are unusually narrow. The Yazoo Pass expedition is definitely abandoned, but the orders required a final and vigorous attack on Fort Pemberton before withdrawing. The army officers in that expedition blame very greatly the captain of the Chillicothe, who commanded the naval force, for taking with him sufficient ammunition at the outset. Could he have fought his vessels a little longer, the fort might easily have been taken. I leave for Young's Point on first boat.
C. A. DANA.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
P. S. -General Grant has ordered the Memphis and Charleston Railroad between Grant Junction and Corinth to be opened. Webster begins it to-morrow. Paymaster Judd received to-day $ 5,000, which has been distributed to his subordinates, who will leave for the points of disbursement to-morrow. General Hurlbut proposes to settle the negro question here by enrolling for duty as pioneers, teamsters,&c., all who are fit for service in this immediate vicinity and along the line of the railroad which he is guarding, taking sufficient bonds for the good treatment and return of the persons. This plan General Grant has approved, and it will at once be put into execution. Hurlbut also propose to select out of the enrolled men a regiment of artillerymen to garrison the fort here. He says he can find excellent material, and that the men will not be troubled by the white soldiers. This project has not been submitted to General Grant-C. A. D.
HELENA, April 5, 1863,
VIA MEMPHIS, April 10.
I find here no important information respecting General Grant's movements. McClernand has moved from his position at Milliken's Bend