Head Quarters, Dept. of the Ten.
Before Vicksburg, Feb.y 4th 1863.
COL. J. C. KELTON
A. A. GEN. WASHINGTON CITY,
Herewith I enclose your reports from Col. Deitzler and Lieut. Col. Duff from Lake Providence fifty odd miles above here. 1
On examining the route of the present canal I lost all faith in it ever leading to any practical results. The canal is at right angle with the thread of the current, at both ends, and both ends are in an eddy, the lower coming out under bluffs completely commanding it. Warrenton, 2 a few miles below is capable of as strong defences as Vicksburg and the enemy seeing us at work here have turned their attention to that point.
Our labors however has had the effect of making the enemy divide his forces and spread their big guns over a greatdeel of territory. They are now fortified from Hains bluff to Warrenton. Taking the views I did I immediately on my arrival here commenced, or ordered, other routes prospected. One of these is by the way of Yazoo pass into Coldwater the Tallahatchie and Yazoo rivers. This is conducted by Lt. Col. Wilson from whom no report is yet received. 3 This route, if practicable, would enable us to get high ground above Hains bluff and would turn all the enemy's river batteries.
Another is by Lake Providence and the network of bayous connecting it with Red river. The accompanying reports show the feasability of this route. A third is by the way of Willow & Roundaway bayous, leaving the Mississippi at Millikins bend and coming in at New Carthage.
There is no question but that this route is much more practicable than the present undertaking and would have been accomplished with much less labor if commence[d] before the water had got all over the country.