Before Vicksburg March 16, 1863
MAJ GEN J. B. MCPHERSON
COMMDG 17TH ARMY CORPS.
I returned this morning from a reconnoisance some thirty miles up Steele's Bayou Admiral Porter and myself went in in a large Gunboat preceeded by four of the old "Turtles" 1
These boats are pushing on with all dispatch to get into the Yazoo. It is important that a force should get in there with all dispatch I have information direct from Vicksburg and the Yazoo river both from persons who have been there and from late papers that our Gunboats had been down to Greenwood and exchanged a few shots with the fort at that place. 2 The enemy have sent up reinforcements from Vicksburg and some more guns. If we can get our boats in the rear of them in time, it will so confuse the enemy as to save Ross' force. If they do not I shall feel restless for his fate until I know that Quinby has reached him. Quinby will have the most abundant force for that route with his Division and that of John E Smith. I am now almost sorry that I directed the latter to join him
I seems impossible to get Steamers of the class we want I sent long enough since for them to have received them from Pittsburg if necessary.
The route through Bayou Macon may prove a good thing for us yet in some operation. But this one to get all our forces in one place and that where it will be in striking distance of the enemy's lines of communications North is the most important until a firm foothold is secured on the side with the enemy.
It may be several days before I will move Logan His freight had better be kept aboard, but the men might stay on shore as much as possible.
U. S. GRANT