War of the Rebellion: Serial 038 Page 0229 Chapter XXXVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

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SMITH'S PLANTATION, April 24, 1863.

Major General U. S. GRANT, Comdg. Dept. of the Tennessee:

GENERAL: If the Black River cut-off is navigable, my forces might ascent to some eligible landing on the Black River, and promptly gain the rear of the enemy at Grand Gulf, and thus cut off his escape. It that line should be found impracticable, another might be adopted in marching some 25 miles across the country, to a point opposite the mouth of Bayou Pierre, which may probably be accomplished in forty-eight hours. Arrived at that point, I would have to rely on gunboats (unless transport run the blockade at Grand Gulf) to cross my command to the east bank of the Mississippi, and, if necessary, to take them to an eligible landing on the bayou. General Williams, last year, ascended the same bayou nearly to the point at which the railroad from Grand Gulf to Port Gibson crosses it. Provisions and forage could doubtless be found on this line.

Another plan is a front attack, and the reduction of the enemy's fortifications on the bold promontory overlooking the mouth of big Black, the Mississippi, and the town of Grand Gulf below by the gunboats. Possessed of such a footing, the infantry can do the balance. But they must have this footing, and it can only be obtained by the gunboats, as frail transports, laden with men and munitions of war, could not be advanced the hostile fire to the shore. The gunboats ought to be able to do this; they can do it.

These three plans, severally may be found practicable, and two or more of them are capable of being combined. All are respectfully submitted for your consideration.

Your most obedient servant,

JOHN A. McClernand.

SMITH'S PLANTATION, April 24, 1863.

Major General U. S. GRANT, Comdg. Dept. of the Tennessee:

GENERAL: According to your order, I have directed General Osterhaus to make and armed reconnaissance to, and, if necessary to the object in view, below the mouth of Bayou Pierre, and to report without delay the result of his observations, so that it may be determined whether it will be best to recall him from his destination or for the rest of my corps to follow.

Respectfully,&c.,

JOHN A. McClernand.

SMITH'S PLANTATION, April 24, 1863.

Brigadier General PETER J. OSTERHAUS, Comdg. NINTH DIVISION:

GENERAL: If a practicable road can be found, you will immediately, and in person, make an armed reconnaissance from your present camp to a point on the Mississippi River opposite the mouth of Bayou Pierre. Upon arriving at that point, you will make diligent inquiry whether a practicable road exists from the mouth of that bayou to any point on the railroad between Grand Gulf and Port Gibson. Also as to the capacity of the bayou for navigation.

If you should ascertain that no such road exists, you will push your reconnaissance with the view of ascertaining whether there is a practicable road leading from a point lower down on the Mississippi to the