Before Vicksburg Feby 28 1863
BRIG GENL B. M. PRENTISS
COMMD. G DIST. OF EASTERN ARK
I send you the smallest stern wheel steamer we have here. I want you to keep up communication with the Yazoo Expedition, and report progress to me from time to time, supply them with rations and everything required by them so far as it is in your power.
Inform Genl Ross that by the last information I have had from that country the rebel, force is small all the way north from Haines Bluff at Grenada there is not over two thousands men and I doubt if that many
The Advance boats should be cautious in approaching Grenada and also Yazoo City looking out for torpedoes. In approaching a town they should notify the inhabitants to surrender and give them but a very short time, say thirty minutes at the outside to make up their minds and not permit them to move their women and children Being near where all vessels from Genl Ross expedition strike the river, act on your own Judgement in all matters requiring prompt action
U. S. GRANT
Copies, DLC-USG, V, 18, 30; DNA, RG 393, Dept. of the Tenn., Letters Sent. On Feb. 26, 1863, Brig. Gen. Benjamin M. Prentiss, Helena, wrote to USG. "Genl Ross.s Division is by this time on ColdWater I went nearly through the Pass Yesterday with the Gunboats Chillicothe & Dekalb. they had no trouble up to time I left. more than one half of the Fleet got through yesterday unless some accident all are certainly through at this hour. 12 Oclock (M) I need one of those Tugs. with it I can communicate for a time with Genl Ross. Water rising rapidly we shall have to move evrything to the Bluff I have stopped all supplies going to the Country from this Point The occupation of Helena has been a God send to the Rebels. in the way of getting supplies heretofore. It is raining incessantly I fear you will suffer from high water this time. Genl Washbume Genl Ross & Myself are of the opinion that Yazoo Pass is the route to Vicksburg or in other words we will be compelled to take that route Genl Hurlbut. request me to send this Steamer down with his Despatches please have her return immediately we need her much" ALS, ibid., Letters Received.