Pass-from 120 to 150 feet in width inside of its banks; is now quite full, rising slowly, and is easily navigable for any boat that can work its way through the Pass. Like the latter, it might be improved by cutting off more of the overhanging trees, though it is not essential in either case. It would simply facilitate the navigation.
In the present condition of affairs, I think boats 180 feet in length, and of any proportional beam and draught of water, can be sent from the Mississippi to the Tallahatchee by this route in four days, possibly in less time, with good management. The period for which this route can be used will depend entirely upon the stage of water in the Mississippi, the shallowest part being on the bar, over which boats are compelled to pass in order to reach the entrance.
In submitting this report of the work assigned me, it would be unjust not to call attention to the difficulties encountered and the arduous labor performed by the troops in overcoming them. With the exception of the SECONDARY ridges, some distance from the stream, and occasional strips of land, from 20 to 50 feet wide, close to it, the entire country was overflowed, so that communication was nearly impossible, and the work could only be done by small parties, beginning at the upper end and working toward the Coldwater. In no case were more than 500 men employed, and frequently not half that number. The obstructions were found at intervals, all along the Pass, from a point 4 miles from Moon Lake to a point near the Coldwater, the principal one being a mile long, and composed of the heaviest trees, cut from both sides of the stream, so as to lie across and upon each other. Various plans were tried for removing, but finally, by cutting, sawing, and pulling ut upon the banks entire trees, the way was opened. The labor was so severe, and the exposure so great, that it was found necessary to relieve the troops several times by fresh regiments from Helena.
Brigadier-General Washburn, who was in actual command of the forces employed, after leaving Moon Lake will doubtless report concerning them; but I take the liberty of commending the zeal and intelligence of Lieutenant George [G.] Murdock, of the SIXTEENTH Ohio Battery; Captain Whipple, of the Thirty-THIRD Iowa, and Colonel Cameron, of the Thirty-fourth Indian. They rendered valuable assistance (Lieutenant Murdock from the lake to the Coldwater) in directing and prosecuting the work.
The steamer Henderson, under the efficient command of Captain A. Lamont, rendered invaluable service. Her cordage and light upper work were considerable broken; it would, therefore, be no more than justice to put her in repair at the public expense.
Inclosed herewith I hand a sketch* of the Pass and adjacent country.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. WILSON,
Lieutenant Colonel, U. S. Army, and Chief Topographical Engineer.
Lieutenant Colonel John A. RAWLINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief of Staff.
DR. CURTISS' PLANTATION,
Near Greenwood, MISS., March 13, 1863-9 p. m.
GENERAL: The land and naval forces constituting the Yazoo expedition, after many provoking delays, arrived at this point on the morning
*Seep p. 377.