strong parties, accompanied by Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson and the officers of my staff, but every attempt to find any feasible point of attack for infantry failed. The rebels' works were so surrounded by swamps, bayous, and overflowed country as to be inaccessible for land forces. The iron-clads were nearly out of ammunition, and the Chillicothe so damaged as to be disabled. We had heard nothing from reenforcements that were expected; our dispatch boats had been so long delayed as to excite our apprehensions for their safety, and we had information of rebel movements to establish blockade at the moth of Coldwater by sending infantry and artillery by railroad to Panola, and thence down the Tallahatchee. Under these circumstances, being wholly destitute of siege artillery, or any means of effecting the reduction of the fort, it was thought advisable to fall back.
At 12 m. of the 21st, we met General Quinby, with a portion of his DIVISION, moving toward the Yazoo River. Under his orders we are to return to the attack. During the expedition my officers and men have behaved nobly; they are entitled to my thanks. To the active industry of General Fisk, and for the cool counsel of General Salomon, Colonels Slack, Bringhurst, and Pile, I feel greatly indebted. Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, of General Grant's staff, who accompanied the expedition as chief engineer, made himself useful generally. He made reconnaissances, built batteries, and occasionally worked them, and was ready at all times, day and night, to aid in pushing forward the work.
Lieutenant-Colonel [John A.] McLaughlin, my picket and grand guard officer; Major [James L.] Dicken, medical director; Captain [Milton S.] Kimball, assistant adjutant-general; Captain [Henry T.] Noble, quartermaster, and Captain [Abraham H.] Ryan and Lieutenant [James K.] Catlin, aides-de-camp, were always at their posts and engaged in the faithful discharge of their various duties, and I should not fail to state that Colonel Lewis, of the Twenty-eight Wisconsin, arranged to lead the assault on the fort in case the heavy guns had been silenced. We did not take the fort, but I feel that all was done that could be done with the means at our disposal.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. F. ROSS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding DIVISION.
General B. M. PRENTISS.
HELENA, ARK., April 18, 1863.
COLONEL: In compliance with the request of the major-general commanding the department, I have the honor to submit the following suggestions in regard to the causes of the failure of the Yazoo expedition to accomplish the object originally contemplated:
The forces under my command consisted of nine regiments of infantry and one light field battery. We embarked upon thirteen transports at Helena, Ark., February 24, and moved into the Pass in the rear of the fleet of gunboats. Our transports, though perhaps the best that could be procured, were very poor, and frequently delayed us by breakage and derangement of machinery.
The gunboats had three barges loaded with coal, which they towed or floated with them. These were very difficult to manage, the channel was so extremely narrow and tortuous, often impeding our movements very greatly. It was impossible, from the character of the stream, to move except by daylight. With the utmost expedition that could be