If coal barges would answer, a supply could be sent very soon, but there is so much difference between a barge and a common flat-boat or scow that I think General Grant would have mentioned it if the desired barges.
L. B. PARSONS,
Colonel and Assistant Quartermaster.
Respectfully transmitted to Major General U. S. Grant for his information. Every effort will be made to procure the boats required, but it is doubtful whether tug-boats can be got through the canal.
HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Milliken's Bend, April 5, 1863.
Major General U. S. GRANT, Comdg. Department of the Tennessee:
GENERAL: I have this moment received a report from General Osterhaus of this date.
The party I sent down Bayou Vidal yesterday morning to get a ferry-boat that had been hidden by the enemy on the opposite side of the bayou became a subject of sharp contest between a detachment of our cavalry and a party of about 100 rebel cavalry. Our cavalry drove the enemy away, got the boat, and brought it up to Smith's plantation.
General Osterhaus further reports that a small reconnoitering party sent out in a skiff toward Carthage yesterday morning was fired upon by the enemy's picket at Carthage, as they had fired upon my party the evening previous. He intended to send a stronger party over on the evening of the same day on the ferry-boat referred to.
Your obedient servant,
JOHN A. McClernand.
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, Fifteenth ARMY CORPS, One Mile above Greenville, MISS., April 5, 1863.
Major General WILLIAM T. SHERMAN, Comdg. Fifteenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: General Grant directed me to endeavor to get through to Deer Creek from Mrs. Smith's plantation, and to get out the cotton belonging to the S. A. Douglas plantation. The cotton had been burned a few days since, and that route to Deer Creek was impracticable, on account of the water. I then went up to Egg Point and reconnoitered the Deer Creek road. It was also impracticable on account of water and swamps. The bridge across Black Bayou had been burned to prevent our getting through that way. I shall now take the road from Greenville, and shall probably be obliged to bridge Black Bayou. The enemy's picket was near this place last night. It is reported that [S. W.] Ferguson was coming into the Mississippi with his battery [cavalry], but he has undoubtedly been informed of our arrival. They say the rebels have 4,000 or 5,000 men at Rolling Fork; quien sabe? I will endeavor to keep your advised of our movements. The gunboat Prairie Bird will remain there with the transports. I have left two small regiments as a guard, and have ordered six of the steamers back to report to Commander Graham.
Very truly, yours,
FRED K. STEELE.