around the opening through the main levee and some distance above it, leaving a gap to the east of canal entrance and perpendicular to main levee, which was to be closed by a large barge filled with earth. It was attempted to put this barge in place on the 14th, but the effort was not successful, the posts yielding and some of the lines breaking. The barge brought up against one of the dredges which had been placed within the dam for work on the canal. During the night, as there was danger the dredge would be sunk, the remaining lines were cut. Next day, as the current from the opening left for the barge was cutting through the canal levee, endeavors were made to change the course of this current by reopening the communication with the new entrance. This proved sufficient to throw the point of impact lower down, and, as the canal levee is being revetted with planks, &c., it will probably not be cut through.
One of the dredges has been employed strengthening the canal levee in the vicinity of the opening previously mentioned. This has drawn the fire of the enemy's heavy guns in prolongation of the canal, which reaches nearly to the railroad.
This greatly increased range of the enemy's artillery, and the number of their shot that fall in the canal, will probably render it necessary to alter the direction of the canal below railroad. As soon as any decision is made, I will notify the Department.
As the work on the canal will bee chiefly by steam-power hereafter, and Colonel Pride, volunteer aide-de-camp, will be in charge of same, it will relieve me from the immediate superintendence of this part of my duties on his arrival here. This will enable me to repair to the Yazoo, in case operations now in progress there should render in necessary.
I have to acknowledge receipt of Department letter or March 5.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FREDERICK E. PRIME,
Captain of Engineers.
Brigadier General JOSEPH G. TOTTEN,
Chief Engineer of the Army.
MILLIKEN'S BEND, La., April 11, 1863.
GENERAL: I have to report that since my letter of the 31st ultimo I have visited New Carthage, following the bayous. Walnut Bayou takes the name of Brushy Bayou at Mrs. Amis' plantation, where it receives the Brushy Bayou proper; from that point to Richmond it has many bushes and large trees in the channel. The trees, not being very close together, can be removed without much trouble, to give the required channel of from 35 feet to 40 feet. From Richmond to Smith's* plantation, on Vidal Bayou, Roundaway Bayou is leveed on the WEST side, but not on the opposite bank. The water is now about a foot above most of the land protected by the levee. The water flows from Johnson's crevasse and the break in the canal into Roundaway Bayou; at Richmond the water flows to the westward, and about half way from Richmond to Smith's plantation the water runs to the south. At Smith's plantation the water runs to the south. At Smith's plantation the water in Bayou Vidal runs to the WEST and to the south; about half way from Smith's plantation to Carthage the water runs north, coming from the Mississippi. A levee extends from opposite
*Smith's plantation is on Roundaway Bayou, where it runs into Bayou Vidal, and is General Osterhaus' headquarters.