battery of two 12-pounder guns and two 24-pounder howitzers at Winkler's Bluff [the first available point on the stream] for its defense. This battery can be re-enforced in good time by my Parrott guns if the enemy attempt to ascend that river. The Big Black at Winkler's is so narrow as to preclude its passage until our guns are taken or silenced. I have built huge piles of dry wood on the beach opposite our batteries, and have a detail ready to fire them if the enemy attempt to pass us under cover of night. A signal station at Hard Times Landing, opposite and 5 miles above, provided with rockets for night alarms and with flags for daylight communication with the Point of Rocks battery, will give us timely notice of the enemy's approach, as they can see some 6 miles farther up, making in all 10 or 11 miles of the river under immediate surveillance.
I have built one furnace, and have another under construction, for heating shot, or rather shell, as I have no guns to throw heavy round shot, and intend to experiment on shell stuffed with clay or brick dust. The guns on navy carriages cannot be handled with the facility of those on the chassis carriages, and I fear the firing will not be as rapid as desirable.
The covered way will be occupied by a regiment, and about 100 sharpshooters will be deployed as skirmishers along the bank [under cover], to prevent the Hartford from using the howitzers I understand she carries on her main truck, or to pick off any that may expose themselves on board. I am satisfied that if they attempt a bombardment they will be sorry for it, but fear they may be able to run by without material damage or injury.
Our camp is located on the only level ground in the neighborhood, and about one mile and a half from the batteries; the battery camps about a half mile from the guns, all southeast of the town site; my headquarters intermediate between the main camp and the batteries.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. S. BOWEN.
JACKSON, MISS., March 27, 1863.
Lieutenant General E. KIRBY SMITH, or
Major General R. TAYLOR:
GENERAL: The difficulty of procuring mules necessary for my command is so great that I am constrained to send an agent to purchase mules WEST of the Mississippi River. I am informed that in the neighborhood of Monroe, La., a large number could be obtained, and I desire to obtain your permission to purchase them and bring them across the Mississippi River. I am greatly obliged to you for the supplies which have already come forward, and which I am advised are still on their way. The heavy guns sent for by you have been detained by me, and I shall be compelled to retain them. Besides the almost impossibility as well as danger of their trans-shipment, the necessity of the service require me to keep these guns for the present. We had the misfortune to burst one of our 32-pounder guns a few days since. At the same time I have been compelled to establish several new batteries to meet the enemy in his several different approaches, and these transfers have by so much weakened the defenses of Vicksburg. The holding of this place, you are aware, is as important to you as to myself.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. C. PEMBERTON.