BEFORE Vicksburg, February 6, 1863.
Rear-Admiral DAVID D. PORTER,
Comdg. MISS., Squadron:
I would respectfully advise the following programme to be followed, as near as practicable, by the expedition through Yazoo Pass:
They necessarily go through the Pass into Coldwater River, thence down that stream into the Tallahatchee, which, with its junction with the Yalabusha, forms the Yazoo, which it is the great of the expedition to enter.
At the town of Marion [Greenwood], on the Yazoo River, [the enemy] were said at one time to have had a battery, but it has been removed, and, unless a mistrust of our present design has induced the enemy to reoccupy that point, no guns will be found there. It would be well, however, to approach it carefully.
Below Marion [Greenwood] the river divides, forming a very large island, the right-hand branch, descending, being known as the Big Sunflower, or at least connecting with it, and the left-hand branch retains the name of Yazoo. On this is Yazoo City, where in all probability steamers will be found; and if any gunboats are being constructed, it is at this place.
Accordingly to the information I receive, most of the transports are up the Sunflower River. I would, therefore, advise that both of these streams, and in fact all navigable bayous, be well reconnoitered before the expedition returns. The Yalabusha is a navigable stream to Grenada. At this place the railroad branches, one going to Memphis, the other to Columbus, Ky. These roads cross the river on different bridges. The enemy are now repairing both these roads, and on the upper one, the one leading through the middle of WEST Tennessee, have made considerable progress. I am liable at all times to be compelled to divert from the Mississippi River expedition a large portion of my forces on account of the existence of these roads. If these bridges can be destroyed, it would be a heavy blow to the enemy, and of much service to us. I have directed 600 men, armed with rifles, to go up on transports to Delta, leaving here to-morrow, to act as marines to the expedition. Have also ordered the regiments spoken of this morning to report at steamer Magnolia at 10 a. m. to-morrow, to join your service.
U. S. GRANT.
P. S. -I have directed the troops sent with the Yazoo expedition to take fifteen days' rations with them.
HEADQUARTERS Fifteenth ARMY CORPS,
Camp before Vicksburg, February 6, 1863.
Admiral DAVID D. PORTER,
Comdg. MISS. Squadron:
DEAR SIR: I did not get to my quarters till near midnight last night, when I found your note of yesterday, about the coal. Major Hammond had told me that he had answered that the roads are awful, and to haul the coal in wagons is a simple impossibility. You saw them in fair weather, and can judge of them in foul. No drainage, rain above, and water underneath and all around, and a sticky, slimy clay, all militate against roads. The canal is full of water, and threatens our camps; still, I think barges could work through the canal. In this way coal could reach here at great labor.
Again, a barge could be carried by night, and turned loose and left