intended on account of the very bad condition of the roads at the crossing of Snake Creek. There was every indication of a heavy storm of rain, which would most likely render the roads impassable for artillery for several days. The rain-storm struck us while crossing Snake Creek on our return, and if the march had been delayed a few hours the roads would have been impassable.
Upon returning to the transports I determined to move up to Eastport, as directed by the letter of Major-General Hurlbut, and then, if necessary, march to the Hatchie by the way of Corinth.
On the morning of April 1, I received a dispatch from Major Murphy, commanding at Clifton, stating his belief that Forrest was preparing to cross the river between Clifton and Reynoldsburg. I remained at Williams' Landing till 2 p. m. awaiting further information or dispatches, and then moved up for Eastport. I lay up during the night 8 miles below Eastport on account of darkness and the dangerous character of the river.
Next morning moved up to Eastport; thence to Waterloo. Finding it unsafe to go over the shoals I disembarked the troops and went into camp near Waterloo.
On the morning of the 3rd, the transports were discharged and directed to report to Lieutenant O'Neil, commanding gun-boat Numbers 31, for convoy to Paducah.
At 12 o'clock on the 3rd, I moved on the Florence road, and marching by the way of Florence, Gilbertsborough, and Bethel, reached Prospect, Tenn., at 2 p. m. on the 7th.
At 5.30 a. m., 7th instant, at my camp on Sugar Creek, I received Major-General Sherman's dispatch of April 2 instructing me to remain at or near Purdy. Had I received this instruction in time I should certainly have remained at Purdy until ordered to leave. Having no definite instructions I acted upon the best information I could obtain, and obeyed as full as lay in my power every order I received.
I submit herewith copies of the orders and dispatches referred to in this report, and respectfully call attention particularly to their contents.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES C. VEATCH,
Commanding Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Nashville, Tenn., April 13, 1864.
General Veatch should have remained at Purdy under his orders till recalled, but now it is too late to remedy the error. I am willing to admit that it was not intentional.
W. T. SHERMAN,
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Vicksburg, March 6, 1864.
Brigadier General J. C. VEATCH,
Commanding Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps:
SIR: By my orders of to-day it is provided that your present command by moved by water to Cairo, thence up the Tennessee River to
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