On March 20, Parsons wrote to USG. "I received some days since a letter from Mr James Robb who was for many years a very extensive Broker and Railroad proprietor in New Orleans. Mr Robb is well acquainted with the country and makes some suggestions which I believe you are pretty well advised as to already but thinking his views might strengthen your own I enclose a copy. We have sent you from here and the Ohio at least twenty three or twenty four boats less than two hundred feet long and will send two or three others by tomorrow. I sent up to Galena for six but my agent telegraphs me they are at Lacrosse River and cannot get through the Ice as yet. We sent you several large boats but some how or other several of them got the privelidge of turning back from Memphis or Helena—I donot understand how. We have sent Genl. Rosecrans four large boats and shall send others as soon as possible to supply the place of the smaller boats we are getting from him for you. I confess to a good deal of anxiety about the Yazoo Pass Expedition and wish I could send you fifty boats of right size if an army is sent there, and then go along myself. I am crowded with drudgery accumulated in my absence and can't see out.... P. S. What Mr Robb says as to opening of Canal arises from a lack of knowledge of the matter and our situation there which those at a distance do not fully comprehend." LS, DNA, RG 393, Dept. of the Tenn., Letters Received. Parsons enclosed a copy of a letter he had received from James Robb, Chicago, Feb. 22, commenting on efforts to approach Vicksburg. Copy, ibid.
Head Quarters, Dep't of the Tennessee,
Before Vicksburgh, March 5th 1863.
MAJ. GENERAL J. B. MC. PHERSON,
COMM'DG 17TH ARMY CORPS.
Stop Quinby from debarking any more troops where he now is. All transports, no matter what their size, can run into the Pass to Moon Lake, which is about half way from the river to Coldwater. I want your Corps to get in there as rapidly as possible, and effect a lodgement at Yazoo City, or the most eligable point on Yazoo river from which to operate.
Send Quinby in advance with a good supply of provisions and coal. All transports he may have of over One hundred and eighty feet in length, direct him to unload at Moon Lake and order back to this place.