also Steele's Bayou, but there are submerged trees which you will please remove, so as to make his bayou navigable to good-sized boats. The water is represented as very deep, and the trees only obstruct navigation by coming it contact with the chimneys and cabins of boats. In about 12 or 15 miles you will come out in a wide channel, after which you will follow the admiral, who is already beyond that point. I will in person follow and pass you, and there will be frequent communication with you. Take at least 300 axes and a keg of spikes, so as to make rafts on which the men are to stand whilst cutting away the tree tops.
Captain Smith, on board the Dacotah, will fill all your wants; if not, you can get them [supplied] at General Grant's boat, the Magnolia, or of the admiral. You will also need a coil of rope, to heave away the chopped trees and limbs. Take a look at the map before you start, and understand the object to be to prepare the lower end of Steele's Bayou for the passage of boats into the main channel, and then to overtake me and the admiral high up.
I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN.
HDQRS. DIST. EASTERN Arkansas, Helena, March 16, 1863.
MY DEAR GENERAL: General Smith with his DIVISION arrived here last night, and was stopped, as directed by you. General Quinby, with a portion of his DIVISION, was to be through the Pass into Coldwater yesterday. There are no light boats arriving, and none here. Hearing that the entire expedition would be delayed, I consulted with General Washburn and General Hovey, and came to the conclusion to send the latter on a flying trip for boats for this expedition, and learn that he procured four of five at Memphis, which I expect to arrive to-night. I have not heard from General McPherson yet.
On yesterday I learned that General Ross was getting on without meeting resistance. This information was received by a gentleman who received a letter from an intimate friend of his residing on Yazoo, stating that General Ross had passed his place, 120 miles from here. One week ago I started two small steamers to General Ross with subsistence. They have not returned. I think Ross is so far advanced that it will be difficult for me to communicate, but he will get a message either to me or your shortly.
I am fully impressed with the necessity of getting McPherson forward promptly, and assure you that everything shall be done here to that end, and trust you will indorse the course taken to hasten forward transports.
General, I may be too confident, but I am of the opinion that Ross' expedition ere this has taken Yazoo City.
General Hovey will return with boats in time to go with his DIVISION. Let me ask now, do you wish his DIVISION to leave here before Ross returns? I ask this question from the fact that the order to Hovey was based upon the expected return of Ross. My opinion is that if Ross does not come back, one brigade of Hovey's should remain here, or that some of the troops from above should be ordered to this point.
I shall forward all information I receive, and have this day sent to General McClernand report of a success on Saint Francis River. Having several dispatches, I send with them Mr. J. M. Caldwell, who will