HDQRS. SEVENTEENTH A. C., DEPT. OF THE TENNESSEE,
Lake Providence, La., March 9, 1863.
Comdg. Department of the Tennessee:
GENERAL: A couple of my scouts have just returned from the WEST side of Bayou Macon, having crossed the swamps and bayou in a canoe. The report a force of 300 or 400 rebel cavalry on the Macon Hills, nearly WEST from Bunch's Bend, and a force of 3,000 infantry, mostly conscripts, near Floyd. I would send out an expedition after the, but it is impossible to get across the country on account of the high water. They also report, as current among the secessionists, who are in weekly communication with Vicksburg by a route which strikes the Mississippi River nearly opposite Warrenton, that the Indianola was not sunk, and, in fact, very little injured; that she was captured by boarding, and nearly all the officers and crew taken prisoners; that she immediately started, with the ram Queen of the West, for Port Hudson, and arrived in time to participate in the attack against General Banks has met with a serious repulse; that the rebels have four steamboats up the Red River converted into gunboats, ready to come down as soon as our transports make their appearance.
I give you these reports for what they are worth, simply stating that the rebels on the WEST side of Bayou Macon believe them to be true.
General Quinby's DIVISION left Grand Lake day before yesterday (the 7th), at 12 m.
We have here now about 2,000 negroes-men, women, and children. What is to be done with them when the command leaves?
I shall go up to Moon Lake, with General Logan's DIVISION, probably the last of this week.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON.
ENTRANCE YAZOO PASS, MISS., March 9, 1863.
Captain C. S. LYMAN,
Asst. Quartermaster, Master of Transportation, Memphis, Tenn.:
CAPTAIN: I am here under orders from Major-General Grant to proceed down the Yazoo River with my DIVISION so soon as suitable transports can be procured. None can safely go through the Pass which exceed 180 feet in length. General Grant has ordered all such that he has at Vicksburg to report to me, but there will not be nearly enough. Send me at the earliest moment all the boats not over 180 feet long that you can gather, and as fast as you gather them. You cannot send too many.
I am, very respectfully, &c.,
I. F. QUINBY,
LAKE PROVIDENCE, La., March 9, 1863.
Brigadier General John A. LOGAN,
Comdg. THIRD DIVISION:
GENERAL: It has come to the knowledge of the commanding general that regiments and brigades have been in the habit of foraging on orders from regimental and brigade commanders, and distributing the