War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0464 Chapter XXXVI. Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC.

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On the 27th, about 2 a. m., I received a note from Colonel Ferguson and from General Featherston, informing me that the enemy had retreated through Black Bayou and made their escape. The Lower Deer Creek country for 6 miles above Wilson's was almost entirely under water from the high stage of water, and its was difficult to find sufficient ground even at Wilson's for bivouacking troops. The creek not having been cleared out, the small steamer could only get up about 3 miles from the mouth, and the other 3 miles troops and supplies had to be transported in two large wood-boats by hauling up the creek by the trees and bushes, the water being too deep for poling and boats not being arranged for and too large for the use of oars. These difficulties rendered transportation very difficult. The number of skiffs at my control being very few, could not be depended on for furnishing supplies. These difficulties, taken in connection with the limited supply of rations at Snyder's Mill, and the country being overflowed in my front, prevented my making any serious advance on the enemy. Therefore, I sent a force of 75 men to the place next above Wilson's (Hardee's), distant from the pickets of the enemy about 7 miles. This detachment to reach its post had to wade through water 3 1/2 feet deep for a mile. The enemy having retreated, I immediately commenced re-embarking the troops for Snyder's Mill.

I left Wilson's place on the 29th, and arrived in this city the same date. A squadron of cavalry was left on Black Bayou to picket and report in case the enemy should return. I consider it highly improbable that the enemy will ever attempt to reach the Yazoo River through Lower Deer Creek. The creek from Hill's lower place (Kelsaw) to Paxton's, 3 miles from the mouth, has never been cleared out, the trees generally overlapping. The water is deep enough for steamers, but it would require a great deal of labor to make it practicable. The part uncleared is about 20 miles, and the country on either side of the creek overflowed except a narrow skirt of bank. Should the enemy attempt this route, it will be necessary to establish our work in front of Wilson's place (say at Hardee's, the place beyond Wilson's), as the communication between Wilson's Hardee's by land is impracticable, and by the creek about 9 miles. The route by Geary [Greasy?] Bayou to Hardee's will have to be used. By this route the steamer can go to within 3 miles of Hardee's, and from the steamer large flat boats can go through the overflow to within 100 yards of Hardee's. All that is necessary to be done by this route is to have the route blazed through the overflow. To operate in this creek, it will be necessary to have a great many, skiffs, as they really afford the only means of moving about until Hill's Kelsaw place is reached, from which there is a good road to Black Bayou, about 6 miles. I discontinued the felling of trees in Deer Creek, as, in my opinion, the creek was more obstructed by the standing timber than by the timber felled. The timber is very heavy, and on being felled sinks to the bottom, and the boats can generally run over it, or, after being felled, it can readily be pushed into the overflow from the creek. the trees by being felled make a clearing or road for the boats, so the felling of timber at the present high water rather assists the enemy than other-wise. The water is now rising, and the higher it rises the more the standing timber is an obstruction to boats. The timber generally is not tall enough to reach across the creek, or sets back so far from the creek that, when felled, the limbs only reach the deepest water.

I would respectfully recommend that a number of skiffs be at once constructed for service on Lower Creek, and a small force (say 100 men) be left to watch the enemy above Hardee's.