current, but I had no idea, from the engineer's report, that the obstacles were nearly so great.
In my last communication you were advised to count upon no more force than your own DIVISION, General Ross', and General John E. Smith's. Owing to the delays which have taken place, unavoidably in your case, and the great difficulty experienced in getting suitable boats to go through the Pass, General Grant has made a change in the programme, and directed General Smith's DIVISION to be sent here. It is important for you to know this, that you may not count upon it for immediate support.
Since we let the water in here, it has filled the lake to overflowing, and is overflowing pretty much the whole country. From the river to the lake the current flows along smoothly but rapidly, and any steamboat that runs on the river can be taken in.
Your suggestion about having strong flat-boats is decidedly a good one, and, if we continue to operate in force on the Yazoo, will be carried out.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON.
BEFORE Vicksburg, March 23, 1863.
Brigadier General I. F. QUINBY, Comdg. Yazoo Expedition:
Learning of the slow progress in getting small steamers suitable for your expedition, I wrote to General McPherson to collect all of his forces not already in the Yazoo Pass, and bring them to where he is.
Since sending this order, I have learned of the arrival of a number of small boats at Helena, and the probability that Smith's DIVISION had started.
As he may have made a start, but not got so far but what orders could readily be sent for his return, I hasten to change this, and will instruct General Prentiss if Smith has gone to let him go.
You will understand from Prentiss, at the same time you receive this, what forces you are to expect. It is highly desirable that your expedition should clean out the Yazoo River, and, if possible, effect a lodgment from which we could act against Haynes' Bluff. You will be the best judge whether this can be done. You will also have to be governed by the disposition of the navy to co-operate. We cannot order them, but only ask their co-operation.
I leave it to your judgment to say whether the expedition with you should return from Greenwood or prosecute the attack further. It may be necessary for you to take more or less supplies from the citizens along the route, but in doing so prevent all the plundering and destruction of property you can, and only permit such things to be taken as are actually required for the use of the army.
Admiral Porter started about one week ago to try and reach the Yazoo River, below Yazoo City, with five gunboats. His route was by way of Yazoo River to Steele's Bayou, up the latter to Black Bayou, through that to Deer Creek, and up it to Rolling Fork, thence across to Big Sunflower, and down the Sunflower to the Yazoo. I sent Sherman, with an army force about equal to yours, to co operate. If successful, they will come in bellow the enemy you are contending against, and between the two forces you would find no further difficulties before reaching the ground I so much desire. I have not heard from this expedition for several days. At last accounts they had got up Deer Creek, but had