War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0080 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

Search Civil War Official Records

The weather is hot, but the troops are in high spirits at the prospect of fighting.

C. A. DANA.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

SMITH'S PLANTATION, April 25, 1863-9 a. m.,

VIA MEMPHIS, TENN., April 29.

General Grant's reconnaissance at Grant Gulf has convinced him that the place is not as strong as Admiral Porter supposed, and as I yesterday reported. The key to the position is the first bluff approached in descending the Mississippi River. The enemy are fortifying, but have no guns there yet. The shell of the gunboats yesterday drove the men from the newly begun works, but drew no firing in reply. It is accordingly determined that the attack shall be made by the gunboats, and that the troops shall land at the foot of this bluff as soon as the batteries there, if any should finally be found, and at the other commanding points along the shore, are silenced. This will take place to-morrow or next day-just as soon as troops can be gotten ready. I am sorry to report that there is much apparent confusion in McClernand's command, especially about his staff and headquarters, and that the movement is delayed to some extent by that cause. Though it is ordered that officers' horses and tents must be left behind, McClernand carries his bride along with him.

C. A. DANA.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

SMITH'S PLANTATION, April 27, 1863-9 a. m.,

VIA MEMPHIS, May 2-10 p. m. (Received May 4-6 p. M.)

The movement against Grand Gulf is still delayed. General Grant went by water yesterday down to New Carthage and Perkins' plantation, just beyond New Carthage, where Osterhaus and E. A. Carr are encamped, to order the immediate embarkation of the troops. The seven transports were all in good working order, except the Anglo-Saxon, whose broken stern-wheel was being repaired, and was finished night before last, and which transport might at any time have-been towed. On these transports 7,000 troops could have been embarked, with artillery and ammunition, while the barges at hand and ready for use could easily have carried 5,000 more. The first thing which struck us on approaching the points of embarkation was that the steamboats and barges were scattered about in the river and in the bayou as if there were no idea of the imperative necessity of the promptest possible movements.

We arrived at Admiral Porter's flag-ship, above Grand Gulf, and General Grant at once sent for General McClernand, discussed with him the point of attack, and ordered him to embark his men without losing a moment. Osterhaus and Carr were then encamped at Perkins' plantation, and full half of A. J. Smith's DIVISION were with Smith at New Carthage, the other half being still at Smith's plantation awaiting transportation, the steamboat that was to carry them having only made one trip the day before instead of two, as she might have done, had General Grant's orders been obeyed, by leaving behind officers' horses and baggage;