upon in a attacking land batteries, could have arrived there by the 2nd of March at furthest.
It is not necessary at this time to urge the importance of the lost days, or what might have been the result had more activity been displayed by Lieutenant-Commander Smith.
With the highest admiration for the gallantry and intelligence displayed by Captains [James P.] Foster and [John G.] Walker, of the Chillicothe and De Kalb, and the earnest conviction that they would have cheerfully obeyed any order from their superior officer, I am constrained to state that in the attack upon Fort Pemberton Lieutenant-Commander Smith again failed to exhibit the decision and intelligence necessary under such circumstances to secure the advantage of a victory. After the Chillicothe and De Kalb had silenced the fort, he failed to push the latter close enough to it to ascertain the cause of its not replying to her fire. I requested General Ross at the time to urge upon him the importance of this step and the probability of our success, and have reason to believe he followed my suggestion. At all events, it was ascertained a few days afterward, from reliable sources, that had the De Kalb been advanced she would have met with no further resistance, because the rebel ammunition was exhausted. the truth of this is now beyond peradventure.
It was simply impossible for General Ross to assault the works at this or any other time, with or without re-enforcements.
Hoping that this matter may be investigated, and the responsibility fixed where it belongs, I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. WILSON,
Lieutenant Colonel, Acting Inspector-General, First Lieutenant Engrs.
Major General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding Army of the Tennessee.
Numbers 2. Reports of Brigadier General Benjamin M. Prentiss, U. S. Army, commanding District of Eastern Arkansas. HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN Arkansas, Helena, Ark., March 17, 1863.
COLONEL: I have the honor to inclose with this, for the information of the general commanding department, a copy of a dispatch this day received by me from Brigadier-General Ross,* on the Yazoo, giving an account of his meeting with the enemy at Greenwood; also a copy of a plan of the enemy's works at that point, which accompanied the dispatch. These dispatches came by the small steamer Carl, which left Greenwood at 9 a. m. on Saturday last, up to which time the firing had not been recommenced.
The Carl arrived here this p. m., having consumed a little over three days in the trip.
To-morrow morning I send the Hamilton Belle, a small boat, with 50,000 rations to General Ross.
I inclose also copy of a letter received from General Hovey,# whom
*See Report Numbers 3, of March 13, p. 385.