” There has been great delay and neglect in … getting ready the barges”

Apr 15 1863.  Adm. Porter’s flotilla was not able to run past the batteries of Vicksburg last night.  I received the following report from the Admiral,

I was in hopes we would have gotten off last night, but no transports reported. Looking at them this morning I see they have made but little progress since yesterday at four o’clock. I would like to get off as soon as possible, for the longer we delay, the more guns and troops they will have at Grand Gulf. I am sure they know all about our move. The cars were running constantly all day yesterday and they are throwing troops some where, or else bringing them in. Will you let the transports report to me if possible, at 4 o’clock this afternoon, so that I can let the Captains see the orders on which they will go down River; and get away tonight if it is possible.

I wrote Gen. McClernand,

MILLIKEN’S BEND, La., April 15, 1863.

Major General John A. McClernand,

Commanding Thirteenth Army Corps:

Admiral Porter informs me that he can take in each of his vessels about 250 infantry. This will enable you to take about one DIVISION in addition to what the transportation sent around will take. There has been great delay and neglect in the quartermaster’s department in getting ready the barges, and the reports of progress I have received I find on a personal inspection have not been realized. There are not more than five barges ready to carry artillery on. In addition to these, you will have about three suitable for transporting infantry.

In loading troops on barges to be towed by steamers, great caution should be infused into the men to keep cool, and to avoid getting too much on one side, or, in other words, to keep the barges trimmed. It may possibly be that these vessels will not run the blockade to-night. If they do not, they will go to-morrow night, certain.



The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 8, p 80-81

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 194

National Archives, RG 393, Dept. of the Tenn., Letters Received.

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