War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0250 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI

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iana, leaving but one DIVISION to occupy that place. After consultation by telegraph with Major-General Gardner, commanding Port Hudson and the THIRD Military District, deeming the garrison at Port Hudson more than sufficient under existing circumstances, and to save supplies at a point so difficult to provide, the navigation of the Mississippi River being obstructed to us, and the mouth of Red River, from whence large quantities of subsistence stores were drawn, being blockaded by one of the enemy's gunboats, I ordered [A.] Rust's brigade and two regiments, under Brigadier-General [A.] Buford, to proceed immediately to Jackson, MISS., with the then view of employing them against raids of the enemy in Northern Mississippi, my great deficiency in cavalry leaving that portion of the department almost without protection.

About March 11, fearing that the enemy might succeed in opening a canal practicable for the passage of transports across the peninsula opposite Vicksburg, I deemed it necessary to occupy Grand Gulf, near the mouth of the Big Black, and assigned Brigadier General John S. Bowen, with his Missouri brigade, to that point, with instructions to construct batteries for the protection of the mouth of the Big Black, and as a secondary obstacle to the navigation of the Mississippi River. General Bowen was also directed to look well to the approaches by the Bayou Pierre. He subsequently informed me that he had prepared for the defense on both sides of the bayou.

On the 22nd, five heavy guns were mounted and ready for service. Two of these were removed from the batteries at Vicksburg, and three, intended for gunboats being built in the Trans-Mississippi Department, were detained by my order, it being impracticable to obtain them elsewhere. At the same time the enemy commenced his movement to reach Vicksburg by the Hushpuckanaw and Deer Creek. Another expedition was also attempted through Steele's Bayou via Rolling Fork and the Sunflower, the object of both being to enter the Yazoo River above Haynes' Bluff. In these designs he was completely baffled. Many of our smaller boats, which were alone fitted for the navigation of these streams, and which were employed in the transportation of supplies for Vicksburg, were necessarily diverted from this purpose to transport troops to meet and repel these expeditions. The same interruption in the transportation of supplies was also of constant occurrence during the protracted expedition via the Yazoo Pass.

On April 7, I received a telegram from the President, inquiring as to the practicability of sending re-enforcements to General Bragg in Middle Tennessee, and directing me to send them if existing circumstances in the department would admit of it.

On the same day I informed the President By telegram that, in my judgment, it was not safe to diminish the forces in this department at that time.

On April 9, I telegraphed General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector General, as follows:

I am confident that few re-enforcements, if any, have been sent to Rosecrans from Grant; no troops whatever are reported to have gone above the mouth of the Yazoo Pass. I endeavor to keep General [J. E.] Johnston advised of any movement which may affect his army. The enemy is constantly in motion in all directions. He appears now to be particularly engaged with Deer Creek by land from Greenville. I have forces there to meet him. It is reported, but not yet confirmed, that a movement under McClernand in large force, by land, is in progress WEST of the river and southward. . I doubt it. My operations WEST of the Mississippi must greatly depend on the movement of the enemy's gunboats. I have several regiments now near New Carthage. I will inform you promptly of anything important, and if I ascertain that part of Grant's army is re-enforcing Rosecrans, will dispatch troops to General Johnston as rapidly as possible.