received General Grant's letter from SMITH's plantation, near Carthage, describing the road as so very difficult that he ordered me to delay until the roads improved or the system of canals, then in process of construction, could be finished.
Subsequently, on April 28, I received his letter, fixing the time when he proposed to attack Grand Gulf, and saying that a simultaneous feint on the enemy's batteries on the Yazoo, near Haynes' Bluff, would be most desirable, provided it could be done without the ILL-effect on the army and the country of the appearance of a repulse. Knowing full well the army could distinguish a feint from a real attack by succeeding events, and assured the country would in due season recover from the effect, I made the necessary orders, and embarked on ten steamboats my SECOND DIVISION (Blair's), and about 10 a. m. on April 29 proceeded to the mouth of the Yazoo, where I found the flag-boat Black Hawk, Captain Breese, U. S. Navy, with the Choctaw (just arrived) and DeKalb, iron-clads, with the Tyler and several smaller wooden boats of the fleet all ready, with steam up, prepared to co-operate in the proposed demonstrations against Haynes' Bluff. Captain Breese fully comprehended the purpose of the movement and managed the fleet admirably.
We at once proceeded up the Yazoo in order, and lay for the night of April 29 at the mouth of Chickasaw, and early next morning proceeded up within easy range of the enemy's batteries. The Choctaw led, followed by the De Kalb, she by the Tyler, she by the Black Hawk, and the fleet in order behind.
The Choctaw at once engaged the batteries at very fair range, and the De Kalb maneuvered so as to use her batteries with as little risk to her unarmored part as the circumstances warranted. The Tyler and Black Hawk also came into action, and for four hours a very pretty demonstration was kept up, when the boats engaged were called out of range. The Tyler had received one shot and the Choctaw some FIFTY, but, strange to say, no men were hurt. Waiting till toward evening, I ordered the DIVISION of troops to disembark in full view of the enemy and seemingly prepare to assault, but I knew full well that there was no road across the submerged field that lay between the river and the bluff. As soon as the troops were fairly out on the levee, the gunboats resumed their fire, and the enemy's batteries replied with spirit. We could see them moving guns, artillery, and infantry back and forth, and evidently expecting a real attack. Keeping up appearances till night, the troops were re-embarked. During the next day similar movements we made, accompanied by reconnaissances of all the country on both sides of the Yazoo.
While there, I received General Grant's orders to hurry forward toward Grand Gulf. Dispatching orders to the DIVISIONS of Steele and Tuttle at once to march for Grand Gulf via Richmond, I prolonged the demonstration till night, and quietly dropped back to our camp at Young's Point. No casualties were sustained save a slight wound from a splintered rail by a man of the Eighth Missouri.
Reaching Young's Point during the night of May 1, the next morning Blair's DIVISION broke camp and moved up to Milliken's Bend. At the same time Steele's DIVISION marched from Milliken's Bend and Tuttle's from Duckport, Blair's DIVISION remaining as a garrison till relieved by troops ordered from Memphis.
The march from Milliken's Bend to the plantation of Hard Times, on the WEST bank of the Mississippi, 4 miles above Grand Gulf, occupied until noon of May 6, distance 63 miles. We crossed over the river