Before Vicksburg March 19th 1863
MAJ GENL S. A. HURLBURT
COMDG 16TH ARMY CORPS.
I sent orders to Col Parsons A. Q. M. for small steamers suitable for the navigation of the Bayous and small streams through this country 1 and sent Captain Reno to expedite the procurement It seems that Col Parsons has conceived the idea that stem wheel boats alone are wanted. I told Captain Reno especially that this was not the case. Side wheel boats are preferable if they are of the right size. If any of these boats have reported at Memphis order them directly down with instructions to report at Helena to bring any troops that may be there not yet removed and to take them wherever their orders may direct. At last accounts General [John E. ] Smith who was destined for Yazoo Pass had not yet got off. If he is off on the arrival of these boats I want them to report here. Such of them as are not required for Smith's command will come immediately down.
U S. GRANT
P. S. Telegraph Col Parsons that SideWheel steamers are even better than stern wheel boats
U S. G.
Copies, DLC-USG, V, 19, 30; DNA, RG 393, Dept. of the Tenn., Letters Sent.
On March 20, 1863, Lt. Col. John A. Rawlins wrote to Capt. Asher R. Eddy, Memphis. "I am directed by the General commanding the Department to request you to send immediately to this place all the small boats lying at your place that belong to the 'cotton speculators There are a number there that will not answer to carry troops on account of their extremely small size but are just what are wanted here at this moment for dispatches in the different bayous. Please send all of them at once no matter how small. Also send the dredge forward as soon as it arrives." Copies, ibid.