“Quite a little skirmish occurred back of Lake Providence on the 11th.”

Feb. 14 1863.  I wrote Adm. Porter,

To Act. Rear Admiral David D. Porter
Head Quarters Dept. of the Tenn. Before Vicksburg
Admiral D. D. Porter
Comd’g Miss. Squadron
Admiral,
I will give directions to have Willow Point visited as you suggest.
I have just returned from Lake Providence. The officer in charge there is very sanguine of being able to get into Bayou Macon.
Lt. Col. Wilson has explored Yazoo Pass to within three miles of Cold Water. Thinks it will be perfectly practicable to get into the Yazoo by that route Citizens have discovered this intention and have fallen timber into the stream
I have ordered down two Divisions more about 16,000 effective men from Memphis to Lake Providence.
Quite a little skirmish occurred back of Lake Providence on the 11th. between about one hundred of our men and three or four hundred of the enemy’s Cavalry. One man was killed on our side and five or six slightly wounded
The enemy lost five or six killed and about thirty prisoners taken among them several officers.
Blanchard^ is said to be moving on Lake Providence with five or six thousand men. Our troops will be very glad to see him.
If the gunboats are successful in getting into the Yazoo I expect great results. Destroying the Bridges at Grenada alone will be of iraraense value to us. I had accurate information by way of Memphis of movements of the enemy North of Jackson received last night. There is a force of five or six thousand in and arround Greneda Commanded by Price The Rail Road destroyed whilst I was down there is not yet completed as reported in the papers—Van Dorn is not up on the Tallahatchie as re¬ ported but over on the Mobile Road at Ocolona with a force about the same as Price has only much more Cavalry—
Respectfully
U. S. Grant Maj. Genl.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 7, p 323-4

“I met with a great loss this morning.”

Feb 11 1863.  I wrote Julia,

Dear Julia,

This evening I leave here to go up to Lake Providence to superintend matters there for a few days. We are not much nearer an attack on Vicksburg now apparently than when I first come down, but still as the attack will be made and time is passing we are necessarily coming nearer the great conflict. I have been remarkably well since leaving Memphis. I now feel about as I did on leaving Memphis last summer.

I met with a great loss this morning. Last night, contrary to my usual habit, I took out my teeth and put them in the wash bason and covered them with water. This morning the servant who attends to ray stateroom, blacks my boots &c, come in about daylight and finding water in the bason threw it out into the river teeth and all. I wrote to Dr. Hamline by the same Mail that takes this to bring with him if he should come down here material to take an impression and make me a new sett. If the Dr. is in Memphis I wish you would get one of the officers to hunt him up and tell him of my misfortune.

The river is now so high that the most of this country would be under water if the levees were cut.

Kisses for yourself and Jess. Tell Jess he must be a good boy and learn his lessons. If he learns all his letters before I see him again I will give him something pretty.

Goodbuy

Ulys.

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 7, p 311

“The weather continues dismal here and roads almost impassible.”

Feb 10 1863.  I wrote Julia,

Dear Julia,

Your letter brought by Capt. Hatch says that you had then received but one letter from me.  I have written not less than four others and probably more.  Generally I have directed to the care of Hillyer.  You had better send to the Post Office to enquire if there are not letters there for you.

The weather continues dismal here and roads almost impassible.  Water on a portion of the point of land occupied by our troops would be six feet deep if the Levees were cut.  It is most disagreeable and trying to our men, this weather, but so far as I see they are not wanting in cheerfulness.

I shall be going up the river in a few days again, as far as Lake Providence, and possibly to Delta, but I will not be able to go to Memphis, that is, I cannot.  My whole time, if not occupied, at least my whole presence with my duties are required.

Since I come down here I have felt the necessity of staff officers.  All were away at one point and another on duty and still others have been required, that is of a calls that can do something.  Such as Capt. Prime, Lieut. Wilson and others.  Bowers we feel the loss of, but Rawlins feels that more than I do.

I am writing before breakfast because the mail goes out at 12 to-day and I have so much to write to Washington that i could not take a moment after setting down to work.

Kisses for yourself and Jess.

Ulys.

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 7, p 308-9

“I will endeavor to accommodate the number of officers and men to your wants.”

Feb 8 1863.  Since all of the squadrons of the river fleet are new, we have had to man them with soldiers from the Army.  This policy is unpopular with the men, as they see it as a form of punishment.  I received the following letters from Rear Admiral Porter,

FEBRUARY 8, 1863. GENERAL: There were 250 men sent over yesterday; we will only want 350 more altogether. Can you so arrange it that we can only have that number, with but 3 officers? We have now 5 officers more with these men than we want, or can accommodate, which is the trouble. The major and adjutant brought their horses, which I am afraid they will have to part with if they stay with us. Hoping you will be able to make arrangements that will suit the occasion, I remain, respectfully, yours,

DAVID D. PORTER, Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.

Also,

Company C mutinied this morning and refused duty. I put them all in irons and sent them to you, as I could not order a legal court on them. The example was salutary; the rest acquiesced immediately. I would recommend that the noncommissioned officers be broken, and. that the others be set to digging ditches. I am sorry to have commenced so roughly, but a bad beginning makes a good ending. I would not hesitate to keep the men I have sent you did I not think that they will feel the punishment of being dismissed the fleet when they see their comrades again and hear how comfortable they are. They are pretty drunk now and insensible to reason, and I thought the shortest way was to put them out of sight. Some one gave them a half barrel of whiskey amongst their rations, with which they tilled their canteens and regaled the crew of the Benton, who are somewhat in a like condition, but more tractable. I am, very respectfully,

DAVID D. PORTER, Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.

 

I replied,

Admiral Porter,

Comd.g Miss. Squadron,

Admiral,

The Major and Adjutant of the regiment sent to serve on the gunboats will be relieved from that duty and can make Hd. Qrs. of their regiment at Memphis or Cairo where they will stay.

I find that some of the officers of that regiment are laboring under the mistaken idea that they were selected for that particular duty as a punishment.  I would be pleased to have their minds set at rest on this point.  They were selected solely because of the necessity existing that you should have more men, and of the reduced numbers of their regiment.

One of the regiments selected for that same service has been with me for nearly eighteen months, and has always proven itself one of the very best I had and of course no indignity would be offered them.  Any troops I have can well afford to sail in the same boat with this regiment.

I will endeavor to accommodate the number of officers and men to your wants.

Respectfully Yours,

U.S. Grant

Maj. Gen. Com

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 7, p 299

O.R. (Navy), I, xxiv, p 325

“I would respectfully advise the following program to be followed … by the expedition through Yazoo Pass”

Feb 7 1863.  Yesterday I sent a letter to Rear Admiral Porter, advising him on the expedition on the Yazoo River,

BEFORE Vicksburg, February 6, 1863.

Rear-Admiral DAVID D. PORTER,

Comdg. MISS., Squadron:

I would respectfully advise the following program to be followed, as near as practicable, by the expedition through Yazoo Pass:

They necessarily go through the Pass into Coldwater River, thence down that stream into the Tallahatchee, which, with its junction with the Yalabusha, forms the Yazoo, which it is the great of the expedition to enter.

At the town of Marion [Greenwood], on the Yazoo River, [the enemy] were said at one time to have had a battery, but it has been removed, and, unless a mistrust of our present design has induced the enemy to reoccupy that point, no guns will be found there. It would be well, however, to approach it carefully.

Below Marion [Greenwood] the river divides, forming a very large island, the right-hand branch, descending, being known as the Big Sunflower, or at least connecting with it, and the left-hand branch retains the name of Yazoo. On this is Yazoo City, where in all probability steamers will be found; and if any gunboats are being constructed, it is at this place.

Accordingly to the information I receive, most of the transports are up the Sunflower River. I would, therefore, advise that both of these streams, and in fact all navigable bayous, be well reconnoitered before the expedition returns. The Yalabusha is a navigable stream to Grenada. At this place the railroad branches, one going to Memphis, the other to Columbus, Ky. These roads cross the river on different bridges. The enemy are now repairing both these roads, and on the upper one, the one leading through the middle of WEST Tennessee, have made considerable progress. I am liable at all times to be compelled to divert from the Mississippi River expedition a large portion of my forces on account of the existence of these roads. If these bridges can be destroyed, it would be a heavy blow to the enemy, and of much service to us. I have directed 600 men, armed with rifles, to go up on transports to Delta, leaving here to-morrow, to act as marines to the expedition. Have also ordered the regiments spoken of this morning to report at steamer Magnolia at 10 a. m. to-morrow, to join your service.

U. S. GRANT.

P. S. -I have directed the troops sent with the Yazoo expedition to take fifteen days’ rations with them.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 7, p 288-9

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 36

“On examining the route of the present canal, I lost all faith in its ever leading to any practical results”

Feb 4 1863.  It does not look as if the canal being dug has much hope of success.  However, our scouting has identified several alternate routes through the bayous surrounding Vicksburg.  I wrote Col. Kelton,

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Before Vicksburg,

February 4, 1863.

Colonel J. C. KELTON,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington City:

COLONEL: HEREWITH I inclose you reports from Colonel Deitzler and Lieutenant-Colonel Duff, from Lake Providence, FIFTY-odd miles above here.

On examining the route of the present canal, I lost all faith in its ever leading to any practical results. The canal is at right angles with the thread of the current at both ends, and both ends are in an eddy, the lower coming out under bluffs completely commanding it. Warrenton, a few miles below, is capable of as strong defenses as Vicksburg, and the enemy, seeing us at work here, have turned their attention to that point. Our labors, however, have had the effect of making the enemy divide his forces and spread their big guns over great deal of territory. They are now fortified from Haynes’ Bluff to Warrenton. Taking the views I did, I immediately on my arrival here commenced, or ordered, other routes prospected.

One of these is by the way of Yazoo Pass into Coldwater, the Tallahatchee, and Yazoo Rivers. This is conducted by Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, from whom no reports is yet received. This route, if practicable, would enable us to get high ground above Haynes’ Bluff, and would turn all the enemy’s river batteries.

Another is by Lake Providence and the network of bayous connecting it with Red River. The accompanying reports show the feasibility of this route.

A THIRD is by the way of Willow and Roundaway Bayous, leaving the Mississippi at Milliken’s Bend, and coming in at New Carthage. There is no question but that this route is much more practicable than the present undertaking, and would have been accomplished with much less labor if commenced before the water had got all over the country. The work on the present canal is being pushed. New inlet and outlet are being made, so that the water will be received where the current strikes the shore, and will be carried through in a current.

Respectfully, &c.,

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 7, p 281

O.R., I, xxiv, part 1, 14

“One of the rams ran the blockade this morning.”

Feb 3 1863.  One of our steamships, Queen of the West, has run the blockade at Vicksburg.  It’s forward hull has been heavily reinforced to allow it to ram enemy ships.  I wrote Gen. Halleck,

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief:

One of the rams ran the blockade this morning. This is of vast importance, cutting off the enemy’s communication with the WEST bank of the river. One steamboat, lying at Vicksburg, was run into, but not sunk. Work on the canal is progressing as rapidly as possible.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General, commanding.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 7, p 280

O.R., I, xxiv, part 1, 14

“I have not confidence in his ability as a soldier to conduct an expedition of the magnitude of this one successfully”

Feb 1 1863.  The situation with Gen. McClernand is becoming intolerable.  I wrote Colonel Kelton,

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Before Vicksburg,

February 1, 1863.

Colonel J. C. KELTON,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: Herewith I inclose you copy of General Orders, Number 13, from these headquarters, and of correspondence between General McClernand and myself, growing out of it.

It is due to myself to state that I am not ambitious to have this or any other command. I am willing to do all in my power in any position assigned me.

General McClernand was assigned to duty in this department, with instructions to me to assign him to the command of an army corps operating on the Mississippi River, and to give him the chief command, under my direction. This I did, but subsequently receiving authority to assign the command to any one I though most competent, or to take it myself, I determined to at least be present with the expedition.

If General Sherman had been left in command here, such is my confidence in him that I would not have though my presence necessary. But whether I do General McClernand injustice or not, I have not confidence in his ability as a soldier to conduct an expedition of the magnitude of this one successfully. In this opinion I have no doubt but I am borne out by a majority of the officers of the expedition, though I have not questioned one of them on the subject.

I respectfully submit this whole matter to the General-in-Chief and the President. Whatever the decision made by them, I will cheerfully submit to and give a hearty support.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 7, p 274

O.R., I, xxiv, part 1, p 11