I have made the copies in haste, to detain the gunboat as brief a time as possible.
I am, general, very truly, your obedient servant,
B. M. PRENTISS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding District.
Major General U. S. GRANT.
Commanding Department of the Tennessee.
P. S. -I shall follow the suggestions of General Ross, and cut the levee and let the water in ; it will do us no harm, and can do the enemy no good.
Numbers 3. Reports of Brigadier General Leonard F. Ross, U. S. Army, commanding Thirteenth DIVISION, thirteenth Army Corps, of operations March 2-April 8. HDQRS. THIRTEENTH DIV., THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS, On transports in Coldwater River, March 2, 1863.
GENERAL: My entire fleet was in the Coldwater at 11 o'clock this a. m., though some of my boats are in a damaged condition. The Diana and Emma are very much damaged, but I hope to get through with them. If I find it impossible to take them through, will send them back from the mouth of this river or leave them there. A cavalry force sent out form Alcorn's (only 20 miles from the mouth of Coldwater) would be able to communicate with them, if left behind.
I would advise that the cavalry stationed on the Pass make a tour in that direction in the course of a couple of days. Commodore Smith informs me that he will send the Key WEST back to Helena, or that he will direct her captain, with 100 troops on board, to report to me. He has that many more troops than he wants, and I have no use for them, or rather no place to put them, and will send them back with the boat. A large force of rebels is reported on the Tallahatchee awaiting our advance. I do not credit the report, but if they are there we shall probably find them in the course of a couple of days, when we shall do just the best we can.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. F. ROSS,
Brigadier General B. M. PRENTISS.
P. S. - If you desire to keep up communication with us, why not rig up the Carl with a couple of light howitzers and from 50 to 75 infantry-men? It would, in my opinion, be sufficient until we get in the Yazoo.
ON THE TALLAHATCHEE,
FIFTEEN miles below mouth of Coldwater, March 7, 1863.
GENERAL: We got into the Tallahatchee last night, and have made but 10 miles to-day, in consequence of the delay for coaling the gunboats. We leave arranged to leave the coal-barges in charge of the gunboat (Marmora) and the Twenty-NINTH Iowa Infantry, and with the balance of our forces to push on to Greenwood. We expect to arrive at