within three days. The communication by land from here to Smith's (2 miles from Carthage) is good.
To-day I started small boats down the Roundaway, from New Carthage to Smith's, to ascertain the navigable capacities of the stream, but have not heard the result. Any number of troops could comfortably encamp within 2 miles of Carthage. To overcome these 8 miles is the point. If a steamer could pass through the mouth of Bayou Vidal or the mouth of Harper's Bayou, just above Carthage, or through the bayou still above, from Duckport to Smith's, and transport troops to Carthage, that would be one way. If piles could be driven and a way made over the crevasses in the levee, that would be another way. I have sent an engineer to-day to examine with reference to the latter, and write this communication specially to request you, if, upon the statement of the case, you think proper, to send a small steamer either by the river, the canal, or the Duckport Bayou, to test the former. If you determine to send a boat, please signal me to that effect. She should be accompanied by an armed vessel, under instructions to shell Carthage, and the fire of the vessel should be obliquely up or down the river, so as to avoid the camp of my troops in the rear. General Osterhaus will recognize the whistle of the vessel to be sent by replying with three shots from a mountain howitzer, two minutes intervening between the first two shots and three minutes between the SECOND and THIRD shots.
It is represented that there is but little more dry land than the levee affords at Carthage, and above and below for some miles; nevertheless, as I have already said, there is fine camping ground for an army back of Carthage, where it could wait for transportation to the river and across the river. My forces now near Carthage are drawing supplies from the adjacent country. If it is intended that they shall remain there for some days or a longer time, please advise me at once, so that I may order forward supplies. It is but just that I should bear testimony to the activity and zeal displayed by General Osterhaus, Colonel Bennett and Captain Patterson, of the pioneers, and all the officers and men who have participated in the achievement of the results mentioned and to the success that has attended their efforts.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN A. McClernand.
HDQRS. Fifteenth ARMY CORPS, Numbers 19.
Young's Point, La., April 4, 1863.
I. Brigadier General D. Stuart having been relieved from duty with his DIVISION by Special Orders, Numbers 92, Headquarters Department of the Tennessee, April 2, 1863, Major General F. P. Blair, Jr., is appointed to command the same, and will transfer his present brigade to the senior officer present for duty with it, and assume command of the SECOND DIVISION, Fifteenth Army Corps, headquarters near the center of the present DIVISION camp.
II. In relieving General Stuart of the command of the SECOND DIVISION, with which he has been so long identified, the commanding general takes the opportunity to thank him for his energetic, patriotic, and successful services. Ever present, ever active, and by a high-toned spirit of honor and dignity imparting to his troops a similar tone, he has now the deep respect and affection of his men and elicits the praise of all his commanders.