several excentric operations may have been very proper, for the purpose of reconnoitering the country; but it is very important that, when you strike any blow, you should have your troops sufficiently concentrated to make that blow effective. The division of your army into small expeditions destroys your strength, and, when in the presence of an enemy, is very dangerous. What is most desired, and your attention is again called to this object, is that your forces and those of Genl Banks should be brought into cooperation as early as possible. If he cannot get up to cooperate with you on Vicksburg, cannot you get troops down to help him on Port Hudson ? Or, at least can you not destroy Grand Gulf before it becomes too strong? I know that you can judge of these matters there much better than I can here; but, as the Prest., who seems to be rather impatient about matters on the Miss., has several times asked me these questions, I repeat them to you. As the season when we can do very little on the lower Miss., is rapidly advancing, I hope you will push matters with all possible despatch." ALS, ibid., RG 108, Letters Sent (Press). O. R., I, xxiv, part 1, 25.
Head Quarters, Dept. of the Ten.
Before Vicksburg, March 17th 1863.
BRIG. GEN. B. M. PRENTISS,
COMD. G DIST. E. ARK.
Your course indoing everything in aid of the Yazoo expedition is fully sustained and what I wanted and expected. I sent to Col. Parsons A. Q. M. over two weeks ago for the class of boats required, and sent a Quartermaster from here on Friday week to attend to the same thing. As you were not aware of this however you done right to send an agent to look after them. 1
It is too late now to send a greater force through the Pass than has already gone and will be made up with Smith's Division.
My intention was, and is, that Ross shall return to Helena and Hovey take the field with his Division. Such instructions have been given Gen. McPherson who I intended should command that expedition. 2