in the rear? I want cavalry badly to occupy Hickman and Clinton. Can we not get them from Saint Louis? Another gunboat, in addition to the New Era, would be of great service to prevent the occupation of the island by the rebels.
MEMPHIS, TENN., February 3, 1863.
No rebel force of the strength you speak of has been known to be in WEST Tennessee. I think there cannot be more than 300 or 400. Your dispositions are approved. I have cavalry here, but distance is too great to send. Give me particulars as fast as you get them.
C. S. HAMILTON,
[FEBRUARY 3-18, 1863. -For correspondence between Dodge, Hamilton, Hurlbut, and Rosecrans, in reference to Van Dorn's movements, see Series I, VOL. XXIII, Part II.]
HEADQUARTERS Fifteenth ARMY CORPS, February 4, 1863.
I have hastily read the reports of the Lake Providence scheme. * It is admirable and most worthy a determined prosecution. Cover up the design all you can, and it will fulfil all the conditions of the great problem. This little affair of ours here on Vicksburg Point is labor lost.
Yours, with great respect,
W. T. SHERMAN.
MISS. SQUADRON, MOUTH OF YAZOO, February 5, 1863.
VIA CAIRO, ILL., February 13-4. 20 p. m.
Honorable GIDEON WELLES,
Secretary of the Navy:
SIR: After the ram Queen of the WEST had reported progress before Vicksburg, I ordered her down the river to sink and destroy all vessels she met with. Colonel Ellet returned this morning, passing the fort at Warrenton in broad daylight, and was hit several times. He destroyed below three large steamers loaded with pork, sugar, molasses, and army supplies. He captured 5 captains and 2 lieutenants. A number of rebel officers made their escape by jumping overboard. Colonel Ellet came within two hours of catching General Dick Taylor, with a transport load of troops. The Queen of the WEST went 10 miles up Red River, where there are many fine steamers that are supplying Port Hudson. They will likely not attempt to go out while the ram is about. She is now out of coal, and had to return on that account. I am going to supply her, either by drifting a barge around at night or by sending across the land. Colonel Ellet learns from the prisoners that General Banks is 7 miles from Port Hudson. They had a severe engagement a few days ago. The rebels withdrew and went back to the fort, and
*See Part I, pp. 15,16.