War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0384 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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that we would have found this point unprepared for resistance. Before adopting the policy of concentrating a heavy force here, there are one or two points to be regarded.

First, the confluence of the Yalabusha and the Tallahatchee is a position of considerable importance, as being the key to a large area of rich country, at the head of a river capable of easy navigation for large steamer, while to approach it we are compelled to thread several streams, with more or less difficulties of navigation to overcome. Without the gunboats could of themselves silence and destroy the rebel batteries at once, we should be compelled to adopt the slow and tedious process of a siege, under no very favorable circumstances-a siege, with the object of silencing and destroying their guns in the first place, and, in the SECOND, to cross the river in such force as to expel the rebels from the point, and hold it ourselves till the obstacles to navigation could be removed. I don't undertake to say how many days this would require, but it is quite clear that as the matter now stands it would require several weeks. A fall of 10 feet in the Mississippi would probably prevent the return of our transports and naval vessels. There would then remain the necessity of going out by the Yazoo or of burning the boats. A contingency of this kind could be prevented by beginning the operation with the understanding that it should be abandoned when the river had fallen a certain amount. There is yet one other point in the enemy's favor. He can move guns up the railroad to Panola, and float them down to the mouth of Coldwater, and, unless that point is vigilantly guarded, can erect a strong battery the. I have suggested that a regiment of troops and one "tin-clad" be left or sent to that point as soon as possible. There is also a great chance yet for us. If the water rises 4 feet more here, it will flood almost the entire country, so much of it, at any rate, that the rebels cannot occupy their p; resent position. To induce this rise, I have advised General Ross to write to General Prentiss, requesting him to put a strong force at work destroying the levee near the entrance to the Pass. The general's letter will go out by the naval dispatch boat that leaves in the morning. If the river is still as high as it was at the last dates we had, an opening even a half mile wide near the entrance will let in an immense volume of water, but whether enough to produce the desired effect is the problem to be solved. It's worth trying, I think.

We had 1 man wounded in the land battery to-day. A 6-pounder rifle shot came in at the embrasure, traversed a cotton bale from end to end, and took off his arm. Several of our men have been wounded in different skirmishes, and have taken several prisoners.

You will please remember, general, that I am not responsible for the defects in the organization of this expedition, neither directly nor indirectly, for although you were good enough to direct General Prentiss to answer my suggestions and " requisitions for troops and materials" as coming from yourself, I received no notice of this till furnished with a copy by Colonel Rawlins, and in no way was I consulted by any one in authority.

I don't mention this with a desire to convince you that the result would have been otherwise had I been consulted, but simply to assure you that the land forces would not have been entirely without siege materials and guns suitable for any ordinary operations.

In relation to the activity displayed by the expedition, I wish to be clearly understood. I have written Colonel Rawlins quite fully from time to time concerning the causes of delay. I frequently, from the day the expedition left Moon Lake, urged that the rams, iron-clads, and