Lake Bayou, but this route cannot be used by the enemy, as it was with much difficulty that I, accompanied by a person fully acquainted with the neighborhood, could trace the bayou through the overflow and woods for over a mile WEST Fork of Sunflower passes through a vast cypress swamp for nearly its entire length, and loses itself in the overflow at many places, making it impossible even to trace it.
No apprehension need be felt that the enemy can reach the Sunflower with their boats through Mud Lake or its headwaters without a vast amount of labor, which could not now be successfully employed.
After the above examination, I turned mu attention to the Hushpuckanaw and Lewis' Swamp. I crossed through take overflow from the Sunflower to Major McNeill's, accompanied by Captain Porter, who commands a company of partisans in Coahoma Country. Major McNeill, who is well acquainted with the country, piloted us to take Crenshaw place, on the Mississippi River, where the Hushpuckanaw enters Lewis' Swamp. This swamp has no open bayou running through it, as reported, and cannot be passed through from the Mississippi without a vast amount of labor. The point at which the enemy might have entered the Hushpuckanaw is through Mrs. Crenshaw's field. The distance from the river to the bayou through the field is about 550 yards. There is now from 3 1/2 to 4 feet of water in the field at the bank of the river, and the levee being broken for a considerable distance, the water flows with a rapid current through the field. If the enemy had ever contemplated reaching take Sunflower through the Hushpuckanaw, they would have assuredly excavated a canal through this field, as it is open ground, with but few stumps or old timber, and as there is no indication of their ever having this route under consideration before the high water, it is very presumable they will not attempt it now when the river is falling at the rate of 4 inches in twenty-four hours. Dredging boats might possibly be used in making a channel through the field, but as I never saw one at work, to mu knowledge, I cannot say with what effect. If, however, they should succeed in reaching the Hushpuckanaw, fresh troubles would immediately await them, as the stream for a few miles above the mouth of Stokes' Bayou can be very effectually obstructed, as there is considerable drift-wood existing in the stream, which could be so increased by felling the overhanging timber that it would consume a great amount of labor to remove them. On Major Donaldson's place, opposite the mouth of Stokes' Bayou, stand three mounds of considerable size, upon which guns can be mounted so as to protect the obstructions from being disturbed. There is also another position for a battery below Major Donaldson's some 7 miles, at Robert's Mound, and at which point heavy obstructions can be placed; in fact, for some 10 miles the bayou can be choked with trees and drift. The greater portion of the Donaldson and Roberts plantations is above the overflow. I did not think it necessary to place any more obstructions in the bayou, as it would only attack the attention of the enemy, and cannot be navigated until the present impediments have been cleaned out. The Hushpuckanaw, from the Crenshaw place north, is intercepted with drift and fallen timber, and cannot be navigated.
Stokes' Bayou, which empties into the Hushpuckanaw at Major Donaldson's, is an impassable bayou, and cannot be used by the enemy. The lieutenant sent by you to explore it says that it was with difficulty he could trace it.
A cut-off, some 16 miles, has been made by the river a few days ago at Napoleon, which will in a few days cause the river above Napoleon