to prevent this, unless, indeed, the obstructions in the other end of the Pass are more serious than we now think.
Should the river fall again 8 or 10 feet, there is not the possibility of a doubt that Yazoo Pass can be opened to admit a large class of boats, and after the Coldwater is reached there are no obstacles of any kind, and very little chance of interposing any, until you arrive at Yazoo City; there is a bluff there, and the next high land is at Haynes' Bluff.
I shall accompany the Yazoo expedition unless you direct otherwise.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. WILSON,
First Lieutenant Topographical Engineers, Lieutenant Colonel, &c.
Major General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding department of the Tennessee.
P. S. - It is called 12 miles from Moon Lake to the junction of the Pass with the Coldwater, and, therefore, there is only 6 or 7 miles yet unexplored; certainly 2 miles of which are no more difficult than what I have explored already. I will keep you informed of our progress.
IN YAZOO PASS, 14 MILES FROM THE Mississippi,
February 12, 1863 - 8 p. m.
COLONEL: In my letter of the 9th to the general, I informed him of the fact that, although eminently successful in opening the levee across the Pass, as well as fortunate in finding it naturally a stream entirely capable of navigation, the rebels had discovered our operations time enough to obstruct the channel by felling trees across and into it.
On the morning of the 10th, I joined General Washburn over a mile from Moon Lake, inside the Pass. Since then, with three days' constant work, we have made somewhat more than 5 miles, having passed and removed two somewhat considerable obstructions of fallen and drifted timber. Just in front of us there is another about a half mile long, in which many of the trees reach entirely across the stream. Some of them, cottonwoods and sycamores, are 4 feet through at the but, and will weigh 35 tons. To add to the difficulty of removing them, the country near the stream is overflowed; nowhere is there more than a mere strip of land next the bank, and that only a few inches out of the water; but, with all these against us, there is no doubt of our ability to remove the obstructions, and make the Pass navigable for the largest boats that pass through the Louisville Canal. We have brought three steamers with us all the way, two of which, the Mattie Cook and Luella, have been turned about, and run to and from Helena. Our greatest difficulty so far has been to obtain tackle strong enough to resist the strains brought upon it; but by to-morrow noon we expect to have new 6-inch cables. With these we shall be able to lift the heaviest logs. By sawing in two the larger trees, removing such parts as will not sink, and taking out the smaller trees entirely, we can remove all the obstructions in time. The narrowness and rapidity of the streams require everything to be taken out that will not float off or sink.
I learned to-day what I previously suspected, that rebel sympathizers in Helena, through some means or other, obtained information, and communicated to their friends the nature of our operations at the levee the day we began. At all events, it is certain that while we were en-