JACKSON, February 21, 1863.
Yazoo City, via Vaughan's Station:
Henderson's scouts report on 20th enemy through main obstructions in Pass, and is scouting in citizens' dress through the country. Skirmishing on 19th with Forrest. Can you not send some of [R.] McCulloch's cavalry to assist? If the country is at all passable, wish you to do so.
J. C. PEMBERTON.
JACKSON, February 21, 1863.
Major R. W. MEMMINGER, Vicksburg:
Featherston's brigade is on the Jackson side of the Big Black River.
J. R. WADDY,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
CAMP PEMBERTON, Yazoo River, February 21, 1863.
GENERAL: Upon my arrival here to-day, I found that Major [M.] Meriweather had, in accordance with my instructions, acted promptly in his selection of a place where we may be enabled to construct suitable works for the defense of this river. He has chosen this point [Beck's Ferry], and vigorously commenced the erection of works which I trust, when completed, will do much toward preventing the passage down of the enemy. The location is 2 1/2 miles by land and about 4 by water below Greenwood. The banks are some 8 feet above water, and the guns will be mounted upon works constructed of earth and cotton bales, so as to place them at an altitude that insures a plunging fire upon the enemy's boat. The Tallahatchee and the Yazoo Rivers are only about 500 yards apart here, and the works commanding each will be connected by suitable lines of intrenchments. Colonel [T. N.] Waul with his troops is encamped here. He is judicious in his arrangements, and I would recommend that he be kept in command of this position.
The river here will also be obstructed with rafts, if it can be done before the enemy approach. This is highly probable, as there is not the least apparent prospect of their speedy descent, and no present indication of a further rise in the river. If, however, the obstruction by rafts cannot be completed in time, I shall use the C. S. S. Star of the West, as stated in my last dispatch, and, if necessary, sink her athwart the channel.
I would remove the two pieces sent by you to Yazoo City, but do not think it best to do so unless others could be sent there. That position, naturally strong, should be kept in a condition of defense in the event we should be compelled to abandon the works up the river.
I have given orders that those boats now being used for the transportation of supplies on the Tallahatchee and Yalabusha Rivers for Grenada, and on the Yazoo for Vicksburg, shall not be interfered with, and to this end the rafts which I have spoken of will not be placed in position to obstruct the streams until threnders it absolutely necessary to do so. Those boats not in use for this purpose are now being encircled with cotton bales, under the direction of Captain [I. N.] Brown, who will command them, and assist our works by boarding the enemy if he should attempt a descent of the river.