Mar 29 1963. I have determined that the only way to make progress against Vicksburg is to land troops downriver from it, somewhere near Warrenton. I have ordered troops to begin creating a road to New Carthage. Once the troops are there, we will need boats to take them across the river. I wrote Adm. Porter,
BEFORE Vicksburg, March 29, 1863.
Admiral DAVID D. PORTER, Comdg. Mississippi Squadron:
I am about occupying New Carthage with troops, and opening the bayous from here to that place sufficiently for the passage of flats, a number of which I have ordered from Saint Louis. With this passage open, I can run the blockade with steamers sufficient to land troops, with the aid of flats, either at Grand Gulf or Warrenton, whichever seems most promising. Under these circumstances, is it not absolutely essential that Warrenton and Grand Gulf should be so controlled by gunboats as to prevent further fortifications?
It looks to me, admiral, as a matter of vast importance that one or two vessels should be put below Vicksburg, both to cut off the enemy’s intercourse with the WEST bank of the river entirely and to insure a landing on the east bank for our forces, if wanted.
Will you be good enough, admiral, to give this your early consideration, and let me know your determination? Without the aid of gunboats it will hardly be worth while to send troops to New Carthage, or to open the passage from here there.
Preparatory surveys for doing this are now being made.
U. S. GRANT.
UNITED STATES Mississippi SQUADRON, Yazoo River, March 29, 1863.
Major General U. S. GRANT, Comdg. Department of the Tennessee:
GENERAL: I am ready to co-operate with you in the matter of landing troops on the other side, but you must recollect that, when these gunboats once go below, we give up all hopes of ever getting them up again. If it is your intention to occupy Grand Gulf in force, it will be necessary to have vessels there to protect the troops or quiet the fortifications now there. If I do send vessels below, it will be the best vessels I have, and there will be nothing left to attack Haynes’ Bluff, in case it should be deemed necessary to try it. It will require some little preparation to send these vessels below. Coal and provisions are wanted; they cannot well do without.
With the force Farragut now has, he can easily dispense with one vessel to patrol the coast as far as Grand Gulf while we are preparing this thing. I will come over and see you. I have been quite unwell all night, and not able to move about much. Before making a gunboat move, I should like to get the vessels back from the Yazoo Pass expedition.
Very truly, yours,
DAVID D. PORTER.
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 7, p 486
O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 151-2