Having satisfied myself of Mr. [Thomas] Weldon's fitness for the duties, I had already given him full charge of everything concerning the obstruction of the river. He is now gone after the steamer Star of the West, for that purpose. The timber for the construction of rafts is being rapidly prepared, and if we can but have the time to place the obstructions and complete the works here, we will be enabled to make a strong defense. [I would add, in this connection, that Captain Brown is now actively engaged in preparing steamboats with cotton armor for boarding purposes.]
The troops which I have drawn from Grenada will necessarily weaken that point, a fact to which I would respectfully call your attention. If you propose the withdrawal of more troops from Grenada, please telegraph there, as the distance from this point to that is so great it would be more expeditious to do so. The difficulty of sending troops across from Vaughan's Station to Yazoo City is such that I would recommend the route from Big Black to Snyder's Bluff, thence up the river to Yazoo City, as the most practicable one.
If the two guns at Yazoo can be replaced, I would respectfully urge that they be sent hereto great advantage. As previously advised, this is the only point short of Yazoo City where any defense can be made on the river.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. LORING.
CAMP PEMBERTON, February 25, 1863.
Received dispatch of 24th [23rd]. No other position this side Yazoo City, on either side. River all overflowed or swamp. Have several large boats, to guard against accident. Have the two pieces you sent here with General [Colonel] Waul. Upon receipt of your dispatch, ordered the two pieces from Yazoo City, Colonel Orr's regiment, and field battery, besides the regiment and battery from Grenada. If we have five [days] more time, defenses and raft will be formidable. Hope the troops ordered may get here. No more can be used till works are further progressed.
General [Colonel] Waul says two 24-pounders can be spared from Snyder's Bluff; would advise sending them to Yazoo City.
Have written you.
W. W. LORING.
JACKSON, February 25, 1863.
Lieutenant-General PEMBERTON, Vicksburg:
The following has just been received:
Brigadier General LLOYD TILGHMAN:
I am fully informed that the Federal fleet have succeeded in reaching the Coldwater River. My information is that a large army, under the command of Generals Washburn and Ross, with perhaps other and higher officers, are now on the way to the lower fleet. When this junction is made, the enemy will amount to 30,000 infantry, with several gunboats. The water is rising rapidly, and it is believed they can pass their gunboats through with but little difficulty.
A. H. FORREST.
J. R. WADDY,