War of the Rebellion: Serial 038 Page 0079 Chapter XXXVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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of getting into Bayou Macon from the river at that point. There is now a difference of 8 feet between the surface of the water in the river and the general level of the country behind the levee, and there is an open route across the fields, and following a road to the bayou, so that the only question is question is whether the country between the river and the bayou will fill up with water, after the levee is cut, deep enough to float steamboats. If so, the route is perfectly feasible and can be opened in four or five days. I have given Colonel Bissell directions to try it, and he goes up in the morning with his regiment to commence the work. The Rocket I have sent down to the fleet to obtain the powder for blasting out the levee. The point where the levee will be cut is a short distance below the Arkansas line.

No portion of General Quinby's DIVISION has arrived, though I am expecting him hourly. I shall, unless otherwise directed, order his command to disembark at Grand Lake, and push rapidly across Bayou Macon, and thence down on the high ground on the western side to some good point to the WEST or northwest of this place, where he can guard the bayou, to prevent the rebels from obstructing it by felling trees, and probably secure a large amount of rebel property, cotton, horses, cattle, mules, &c., which have been moved over for safety.

The road from the river to Bayou Macon, at Grand Lake, is very good, and will require only two bridges, which Colonel Bissell can construct rapidly out of his pontoon train.

The work of cleaning out Bayou Baxter is progressing as rapidly as circumstances will admit.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. B. McPHERSON.

LAKE PROVIDENCE, La., March 2, 1863.

Brigadier General I. F. QUINBY,

Commanding Seventh DIVISION:

GENERAL: You will disembark your command at Grand Lake, and push rapidly out to the westward, across to Bayou Macon, and thence down on the western side of the bayou 6 or 8 miles, to some good point wherish your main camp, for the double purpose of preventing the rebels from obstructing the bayou by felling trees, &c., into it, and securing a large amount of rebel property-cotton, horses, mules, &c., which have been moved over there for safety.

Colonel Bissell, who will deliver this to you, will indicate the road you are to take, and will also throw pontoon bridges across the bayous or streams.

There is a regiment of rebel cavalry scattered along the WEST side of Bayou Macon, and an organization of Home Guards, which you will have to look out for. From all I can learn, however, they are not very formidable, but it will be best to keep on the alert. There is no direct route from here across to Bayou Macon, as a great portion of the country is overflowed.

You will, of course, leave a sufficient force at your landing to protect the transports, and keep open communication between them and your camps.

One great object in pushing forward rapidly after you land is to secure a large amount of cotton, which is said to be stored in sheds along the bayou, and which will probably be burned if the enemy gets wind of our coming.

I would like to see in person as soon as convenient.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. B. McPHERSON.