gaged in opening the Pass at one end the rebels were closing it at the other.
We are now about 7 miles from Moon Lake, and by the meandering of the stream the same distance from the Coldwater, though the map shows both distances scarcely 6 miles. It will take from seven to ten days, possibly longer, to reach the end of our work.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. WILSON,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Topographical Engineers.
Lieutenant Colonel John A. RAWLINS,
A. A. G. and Chief of Staff, Hdqrs. Dept. of the Tennessee.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Before Vicksburg, MISS., February 16, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded to the Headquarters of the Army, Washington, for the information of the General-in-Chief. There is a force now diligently at work clearing our Yazoo Pass, and four light-draught gunboats (one iron-clad) with the party. I am also sending an additional DIVISION of infantry, with a few pieces of artillery, without horses, to accompany the expedition. If successful, they will clear out the Yazoo and all tributaries of all vessels that can do us any injury, saving them for the Government, if possible, or as many of them as possible. The first attempt will be to ascend the Yalabusha to Grenada and destroy the railroad bridges there. The force now at Grenada is not large.
U. S. GRANT,
HELENA, ARK., February 24, 1863.
SIR: I have to report, for the information of the major-general commanding, that Yazoo Pass is now open for navigation.
The levee at the entrance was cut on the 3rd instant, with comparatively little difficulty, and by the 7th the rush of water through the crevasse had so subsided that the U. S. gunboat Forest Rose, Captain George W. Brown, entered as far as the exit of the Pass from Moon Lake. About this time it was fully ascertained that the rebels had obstructed the stream by felling heavy trees into and across it.
On the 8th, fresh troops, under the command of General Washburn, arrived at Moon Lake, and began the removal of the blockades. By the evening of the 21st, the work was accomplished, and at 5 p. m. of the 22nd the steamers Henderson and Mattie Cook, with one regiment of troops on board, entered the Coldwater River and descended it 2 1/2 miles, to Cole's plantation. On the 23rd, they went down from 10 to 12 miles farther, through some of the shortest bends, and returned the same day to Hunt's Mill, on the Pass.
I am confirmed in the opinions expressed in my previous reports concerning the practicability of this route, during proper stages of water, as a line of military operations. In navigating Yazoo Pass some difficulty will be experienced from limbs of overhanging trees, not removed because of the impossibility of cutting them down without letting the whole tree fall into the channel. Should the water fall 4 or 5 feet, this could be easily obviated by cutting and pulling inland the trees now partly in the way.
The Coldwater is a considerable stream after its junction with the