After the levee had been cut, the pilots thought it unsafe to undertake an entrance for several days. The gunboat Forest Rose, needing repairs, plank,&c., ran up to Memphis, returned, and, on the morning of the 7th, we ran down and entered the Pass with great ease. About a mile inside of the levee we struck Moon lake, ran down it about 5 miles, to the point where the Pass leaves it, and from that point I proceeded to make further examinations. I was somewhat disappointed to find the stream neither so large nor straight as it is nearer the river. I went in it about 3 miles in an open boat, but found no obstruction of a serious nature. However, we found three men who had just come through in a dug-out from the Tallahatchee, ostensibly for supplies of salt,&c. They said that the people at the mouth of Coldwater had discovered what had been done at the levee, and that a force of rebels (some 30 or 40), with about 100 negroes, had been engaged for several days in felling timber across the stream at intervals between its junction with the Coldwater and a point nearly 5 miles from Moon Lake.
The next day (yesterday), after waiting till noon for a small steamer that I had expected the day before, I went in again with Captain [G. W.] Brown's cutter and crew, and descended the Pass nearly 6 miles. During this trip we took 2 men who had belonged to a company of partisan cavalry. They spoke of the rebels having been there in small force, engaged in cutting timber, but said they had left the evening before.
I saw, perhaps, at different points, forty trees that had been cut so as to fall in the stream, but in no place had it obstructed the channel so as to resist or prevent the passage of boats. At three places some drift timber had collected against standing trees, so as to contract the water-way, but a few hours' work would open it so as to make the passage easy. The timber, or, at least, all that I saw, which had been cut into so as to hurt nothing. From this fact, and the opinion of boatmen accustomed to small streams, I am inclined to think that, although many more trees may have been cut lower down, and at points opposite each other, they will not materially interfere with navigation. The stream is only about 100 feet wide (but very deep), and, as the timber overhangs in tin may places, it will be necessary to cut out considerable in order to prevent the smoke-stacks of the steamers from being knocked down. This will be a more tedious operation than usual, from the fact that, in many places, the banks of the stream ate under water; but, with all these difficulties, no on e here entertains a doubt of our being able to work through.
General Gorman sent General Washburn down yesterday with 1,000 men and sent 500 more this morning. They have begun operations. I shall go down myself early in the morning and push matters as rapidly as possible.
Before I left there the ferry-boat Luella, about 100 feet long, had gone into the Pass nearly 3 miles, turned about, and returned.
Information of no very reliable character has reached General Gorman to the effect that the rebels were aware of our movements, and were making arrangements for our reception. Where or how is not known.
I have been thus minute in my statement so that you could see exactly how the matter stands.
I am quite sure that no material advantages in the way of a surprise can be obtained, unless our expedition gets through within five or six days. I see nothing, however, except the non-arrival of the gunboats