War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0402 Chapter XXXVI. Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC.

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naissance to the Coldwater leads me to think that they cannot blockade that to any great extent with timber. I think we ought to have two powerful rams and one iron-clad ready to send trough as soon as the blockade is cleared out. It would be hazardous to send a large fleet of light transports down the Yazoo until we know what kind of rams and gunboats the rebels have there. If the water does not fall any more, I am satisfied that we can take as large an army down here as we can find transports for: Unless I meet with unforeseen obstacles, I believe I can get a boat through to the Tallahatchee within one week, and I would urge that as soon as we have this Pass clear, a small gunboat be difficult for me to say that the Coldwater is clear, from a land reconnaissance, as there are many places that a land force cannot get to it. I wish very much that you would come down here, as I am anxious to have your opinion. The rebel cavalry that is hovering around I am anxious to run out of the country or capture, and to that end I wish you would send me tomorrow 200 more cavalry. Send them to Moon Lake, and land them half a miles east of Dr. Dowd's plantation, on the north side of the lake, with instructions to proceed to Hunt's Mill, on the Yazoo Pass, where I hope to be by the time they can get there. Have them take two day's rations of all but meat, with their blankets and a plenty of ammunition.

The men I have here I wish to retain until this job is done, and I have promised them that a paymaster shall remain at Helena until they can get back, and I request that you will see that it is so.

I am, general, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Brigadier General B. M. PRENTISS,

Commanding District of Eastern Arkansas, Helena.

P. S. - In sending me cavalry, I wish you would see that an officer of a rank not less than a major is sent. I should like to have either Lieutenant-Colonel Wood, First Indiana Cavalry, or Major Walker, FIFTH Kansas. If you can hasten this matter so that this cavalry shall reach Hunt's Mills tomorrow night, I shall be glad.

[Inclosure Number 2.]

YAZOO PASS, February 16, 1863.

GENERAL: Since writing you a few moments since, it has occurred to me that we might throw the enemy off his guard. I wish you would contrive to have it telegraphed to the Associated Press about as follows, viz:

"The attempt to open the Yazoo Pass is likely to prove an entire failure. After expending great labor to remove the obstructions placed in it by the rebels, it is found impossible to open it except for the very smallest kind of boats. Besides, the rapid fall of water, it is reported, has caught a number of boats in the Pass, which, unless strongly guarded, are liable to be destroyed. "

Such a dispatch would find its way to Vicksburg in two days after it was published in the Eastern papers.

Truly, yours,



Brigadier-General PRENTISS.