our troops went back to their camp-a drawn battle, I presume. The ram took all the vessels by surprise. The people did not dream of anything of the kind. If we cannot take just now the 6 miles of river in front of Vicksburg, we can take anything that steams upon that portion of the Mississippi between Vicksburg and Port Hudson.
DAVID D. PORTER.
LAKE PROVIDENCE, February 5, 1863.
Major General J. B. McPHERSON,
Comdg. SEVENTEENTH Army Corps:
Move one DIVISION of your command to this place with as little delay as practicable, and come with it yourself. One brigade of McArthur's DIVISION is now here, and the balance will be ordered up as soon as I return. This bids fair to be the most practicable route for turning Vicksburg. You will notice from the map that Lake Providence empties through the Tensas, Washita, Black, and Red Rivers into the Mississippi.
All these are now navigable to within a few miles of this place, and by a little digging, less than one-quarter that had been done across the point before Vicksburg, will connect the Mississippi and lake, and in all probability will wash a channel in a short time.
You will want to bring with you all the intrenching tools you can. Forage and beef-cattle can be got here near you in great abundance. You want to come, however, with some forage.
Direct the DIVISION you leave behind to be in readiness to move at a moment's warning.
On your arrival here you will find the work progressing which it is expected your command will complete. I will be up to see you soon after your arrival.
Cotton speculators will follow you in spite of every effort to prevent it. Make orders excluding all citizens from coming within your lines, so that if any of these fellows get outside they can be kept out.
U. S. GRANT.
BEFORE Vicksburg, February 5, 1863.
Major General U. S. GRANT,
Comdg. Dept. of the Tennessee:
SIR: In accordance with you instructions of the 31st ultimo, I proceeded with 300 men on steamer Diligent to Milliken's Bend, and landed at Buckson's plantation. I here found on inquiring that Big Bayou was 3 miles distant, and that it ran much nearer the river at the Omega plantation. I re-embarked on the steamer, and passing up to that point found the head of the bayou; and on inquiry learned that boats of no description could be used in it. Here I took 25 men, and proceeded 1 1/2 miles to the Omega plantation quarters, and pressed a wagon, six mules, and driver, to haul our rations. I returned to the river, loaded the rations, and started the wagon and 275 men, under Captain Hart of the Eighth Missouri on the main road, whilst I took an escort of 25 men and proceeded carefully to survey the bayou, with the following result:
From the head of the bayou to the river would require an excavation of 300 yards in length, and a width of 50 feet at top and 25 feet at bottom, and a depth of 15 feet. From the point thus made to Willow Bayou there is a depth of 15 feet, by a width of 50 to 25 feet. The
3 R R-VOL XXIV, PT III