of current, narrowness of the stream, and overhanging timber, some damage may be incurred by them.
Your obedient servant,
WALTER B. SCATES,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
LAKE PROVIDENCE, La., March 1, 1863.
Major General U. S. GRANT,
Comdg. Department of the Tennessee:
GENERAL: I have just returned from an examination of Bayou Baxter from its source down about 7 miles. The work of cleaning it out is much greater than I was led to believe from the engineer's reports.
The recent heavy rains have raised the water in the lake and bayou from 2 to 3 feet, overflowing a considerable portion of the low country, and making it extremely difficult for the working parties to get along. They are, however, doing very well, and the men seem to be in fine spirits. About 5 miles have been cleaned out. I am going to-morrow morning up to Ashton, near the Arkansas line, where Bayou Macon approaches within 3 miles of the Mississippi River, and if there is a probability that by cutting the line at this point boats can be floated into Bayou Macon, I shall have it done immediately; and unless the water in Bayou Baxter falls very soon, I shall cut the levee here and let in the water to fill the lake and bayou, in order to get in the boats, so that we can make use of have to be sawed off under water in this case, but I am a little apprehensive that in cutting them off, as the surface of the water now is, the water, when the levee is cut, will not rise high enough to float the boats clear of the stumps.
I have had numerous applications here from parties owning cotton (or claiming to own it) to ship it to Memphis and sell it on their own account. If I once opened the door to this sort of thing, I presume nearly every bale of cotton in this vicinity would be claimed by some one, who would come forward and say that he had never done anything to encourage the rebellion, and had always been opposed to secession.
My plan is to send it all to Memphis, and let it be sold by Captain Eddy, and if any of these people can establish a good, lawful, and loyal claim, let them receive the net proceeds of what belongs to them. In some instances, when the facts come under my own observation, and I know the families have been stripped of almost everything, and are really in destitute circumstances, I will grant a permit for them to sell or ship a small proportion on their own account to purchase necessaries. I have granted the permission asked for in the inclosed letter. *
Mrs. Sparrow, wife of Mr. [Edward] Sparrow, Senator in the rebel Congress, with her family, consisting of three or four daughters, at present visiting here on the lakes, wishes permission to pass into the rebel lines, to remain at Vicksburg, and to take two or three of her female house servants. Can it be granted?
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. RAM SWITZERLAND,
Mississippi River, March 1, 1863.
General ALFRED W. ELLET:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report to you that I left the Era Number 5, in charge of Captain A. Conner, on February 23, and proceeded up the
* Not found.