not prepared to move troops in this way, I will keep everything moving as fast as I can, but you know the difficulty of managing detached boats in small, crooked streams, where overhanging boughs and submerged trees obstruct their progress at every quarter of a mile.
The three regiments which have gone up to the admiral ought to reach him about 5 p. m., and if I can possibly get the SECOND Brigade up to-day or to-night, I will also send them forward, as they will cover the advance of the fleet; but, so far as accomplishing the original object, viz, finding a practicable point on the east bank of the Yazoo whereon to disembark my corps, I pronounce it impossible by any channel communicating with Steele's Bayou. If the fleet pushes beyond Rolling Fork, we can hold that point or this, and thereby enable the admiral to use his whole fleet. The Price is still in Steele's Bayou, and cannot pass through Black Bayou. Captain [Selim D.] Woodworth, her commander, expects the wooden gunboat Linden every hour, and thinks she can pass to this point. I only have the Eagle and Silver Wave to ferry troops up from Muddy Bayou, and except the Diligent up every hour-she is past due-and will set her to work at once in bringing up men.
I take it for granted the five iron-clad gunboats can fight anything that can be brought against them, and land forces are only needed to cover the ground, to enable them to clean out obstructions.
If you want me to hold Deer Creek country, please so order it, and also how far you want me to proceed.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Colonel John A. RAWLINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Tennessee.
HEADQUARTERS Fifteenth ARMY CORPS,
Camp, before Vicksburg, March 29, 1863.
SIR: I had the honor to report to you the result of mu observations on the projected route to the Yazoo, by way of Steele's Bayou, up to the 21st of March. On that day I was at Hill's plantation, on Deer Creek, where Black Bayou enters it, and had sent forward to Admiral Porter all the troops then with me, viz, the Sixth and Eight Missouri and One hundred and twenty-seventh Illinois, under the command of Colonel Giles A. Smith, with orders to march up the east bank of Deer Creek to the vicinity of Rolling Fork, and there report to Admiral Porter.
At that time the admiral had advanced up Deer Creek with five iron-clads, but before reaching Rolling Fork had found the creek so full of growing trees and willows that his progress was slower than he had calculated, and the enemy had begun further to obstruct his progress by feeling tree in the channel and firing from ambush on his working parties when exposed on the decks or on the banks of the stream. I had, at his call, sent forward every man then with me, and had put in motion all my steamboats to bring forward more troops from Eagle Bend.
By night three steamboat loads had arrived at the foot of Black Bayou, and were transferred to the first visible ground above water, at a point on the south shore of Black Bayou, about 1 1/2 miles from its mouth and 2 1/2 miles from Hill's plantation. I conducted them through