There would necessarily be some difficulty in supplying troops there, but as the country will afford forage, and a plank road will be made across the point, in the canal embankment, I think it can be done.
U. S. GRANT.
P. S. -Captain Prime is directed to locate and build the battery required, and roads leading to it.
HDQRS. DIST. OF EAST. Arkansas, February 21, 1863.
Comdg. Thirteenth Div., Thirteenth A. C.:
You will, on Monday next, the 23rd instant, proceed with your command on board of steamers Small, Lawyer, Lebanon Number 2, Citizen, Lebanon, Cheeseman, Mariner, Saint Louis, Volunteer, Lavinia Logan, John Bell, and Key WEST Number 2, with FIFTEEN days' rations and 160 rounds of cartridges. Having placed your command on board, you will proceed at once to Yazoo Pass and join fleet of gunboats now at Moon Lake, at which point a fleet of gunboats, under Commodore Smith, awaits your arrival. You will proceed through Yazoo Pass, for the purpose of complying with instructions contained in following communications received from General Grant, of which I send copy attached. * As you may meet with a large quantity of axes and spades. You will take all such belonging to your command, and if, in your judgment, more is wanted, apply to Quartermaster [Reuben B.] Hatch for such.
You will take but few tents, as the general commanding Department of the Tennessee is desirous that this expedition move as soon as possible.
You will, when you arrive at Moon Lake with your command, render all aid in your power to remove any obstruction that may tend to prevent passage of steamers through said Yazoo Pass.
B. M. PRENTISS.
MEMPHIS, TENN., February 21, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel John A. RAWLINS,
Having just received the dispatch (copy inclosed), I forward it for information of Major-General Grant.
I have considered it prudent, under this information, to withhold the cavalry dash on Jackson.
I very respectfully suggest to the major-general that it will be necessary, in order to maintain our troops in provisions and forage, that at least eight good boats be kept running between this point and Saint Louis. The army horses are perishing for want of long forage.
I also call attention to the copy of a letter from Parsons, at Saint Louis, herewith,+ which indicates the necessity at that point of a considerable amount of river transportation, which, I take it, are forces expected by General Grant from Missouri.
We are again afloat with a heavy rain.
Nothing has been heard here of the gunboats ordered up the Tennessee.
We are examining the lists of regimental surgeons, and will send down such as can safely be spared. Dr. Wirtz and Dr. Irwin, his successor
* See Grant to Prentiss, February 15, p. 56.
+ Not found.