I have written to Gen. Halleck informing him of our impending move across the Mississippi,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Milliken’s Bend, La., April 12, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: THERE is nothing in the way now of my throwing troops into Grand Gulf and destroying the works there, then sending them on to Port Hudson, to co-operate with General Banks in the reduction of that place, but the danger of overflowing the road from here to New Carthage when the water is let into the new canal connecting the river here with the bayous coming out at Carthage. One DIVISION of troops is now at Carthage and another on the way. By turning in the water to the canal, water communication can be opened between the two places in a very few days for barges and tugs. Of the former I have but fifteen as yet, and of the latter but three suitable for this navigation. To use this route, therefore, it is absolutely necessary to keep open the wagon road to take over artillery and to march the troops.
In about three nights from this time Admiral Porter will run the Vicksburg batteries with such of his fleet as he desires to take below, and I will send four steamers, the machinery protected from shot by highballs and sand-bags, to be used in transporting troops and in towing barges.
The wagon road, by filling up the lowest ground (this work must now be nearly completed), will be about 20 inches above the water in the swamps. The river, where it is to be let into the canal, is 4. 09 feet above the land. This, however, is 15 miles, by the river, below where the dirt road back country, I should not doubt the effect would be to overflow the whole country through which we pass; but there has been a large crevasse just below where this canal leaves the river for a long time, through which the water has been pouring in great volume. I cannot see that this additional crevasse is going to have much other effect than to increase the breaks in the bayou levees, so as to make the discharge equal to the supply. I will have a map of this section made to send you by next mail, which will make this more intelligible.
The embarrassments I have had to contend against on account of extreme high water cannot be appreciated by any one not present to witness it. I think, however, that you will receive favorable reports of the condition and feeling of this army from every impartial judge and from all who have been sent from Washington to look after its welfare.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 8, p 53-4
O.R., I, xxiv, part 1, p 29