Today in History:

15 Series I Volume XXIV-I Serial 36 - Vicksburg Part I


[Inclosure Number 1.]

HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, McARTHUR'S DIVISION, Lake Providence, La., February 3, 1863.

Lieutenant Colonel John A. REALIGNS,
Asst. Adjt. General, Department of the Tennessee:

COLONEL: Dispatch, per War Eagle, just received. I send by same boat 100 able-bodied negroes; all that can be secured at present. Will send out to-morrow and collect as many as possible, and forward them.

The planters have sent most of their negroes and cotton back into the county, on Bayou Macon, some 12 or 15 miles from here, and we shall, therefore, probably not be able to send you many hands to work on the canal.

Colonel Duff has permitted me to read his report respecting the object and probable result of our expedition, which covers the ground.

The water in the lake is about 8 feet lower than the surface of the river. In about six days we hope to be able to complete a cut in the levee, 100 feet wide, which will connect the lake and the river by a channel 5 feet deep.

I do not think that we will have any considerable difficulty in finding a passage for gunboats and small stern-wheel boats through Baxter Bayou and Bayou Macon, a distance of from 10 to 15 miles.

When the water in Lake Providence rises to the level of the water in the Mississippi, Baxter Bayou will furnish a passage for large boats; it will only be necessary to cut a few trees, so as not to interfere with chimneys. Once in Bayou Macon, we shall have a clear coast to Red River.

I look upon the prospect as entirely practicable, and shall feel very much disappointed if the gunboats do not pass through to Bayou Macon within three weeks.

At Trenton, 1 mile above Monroe, on Washita River, the rebels have several batteries and a small infantry force. This force and batteries were at Monroe until the time our troops destroyed the depot at Delhi.

About 35 miles WEST of Monroe, at Raven's Lake, the rebels have extensive salt-works, where they employ several thousand negroes. I learn that these works supply the whole southwest with salt, and ought to be destroyed.

There are in this vicinity many articles on "the list of loyal captures", such as horses, mules, and cattle. I can "gobble up" and send down a large supply of the latter if desired.

When the next boat comes up, will you please instruct the captain to touch at General McArthur's headquarters and bring up our mail?

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel First Kansas, Commanding First Brigade.

[Inclosure Number 2.]

ON BOARD U. S. STEAMER LINDEN, Providence, La., February 3, 1863.

Lieutenant Colonel John A. REALIGNS,

Assistant Adjutant-GENERAL:

COLONEL: In consequence of an impenetrable fog and other causes of detention beyond my control, the expedition for the connection of Lake Providence with the Mississippi River did not reach this place