of the earliest moment, to have a consultation with yourself and Rear Admiral Porter, as to the assistance I can render you at this place, and if none then I will return to the mouth of Red River and carry out my original design." LS, DNA, RG 94, War Records Office, Miscellaneous War Records. O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, 104-5; ibid., I, xv, 693; O. R. (Navy), I, xx, 5.
On March 21, Lt. Col. John A. Rawlins wrote to Col. Charles H. Abbott, 30th Iowa. "A barge of coal will be let loose at the point above Vicksburgh at 10. P. M. to-day to float down with current to Admiral Farragut's fleet The master of transportation thinks it will reach the mouth of the canal in two hours from the time it is turned loose above you will therefore please be on the lookout and give it safe conduct to its place of destination. You will also please give timely notice to Admiral Farragut that he may know what to expect It was thought that the communication of Lt Commanding Breese of yesterday to Admiral Farragut was in reference to furnishing him coal as the matter had been referred to him. Commodore Graham says that a yaul with a line attached to the coal barge can keep it in the current. A line will therefore be placed on the barge for the purpose of ennabling your men to guide it You will please forward the enclosed communication to Admiral Farragut without delay." Copies, DLC-USG, V, 19, 30; DNA, RG 393, Dept. of the Tenn., Letters Sent. See letter to Rear Admiral David G. Farragut, March 23, 1863.
Head Quarters, Dept. of the T[en. ]
Before Vicksburg, March 22d/63
COMD. G GULF SQUADRON,
I regret that Admiral Porter has not been here to answer your communications. On the subject of your communication in regard to furnishing coal it can always be supplied either by the Admiral or myself, supposing that it can be successfully floated past the batteries at Vicksburg.
It is a matter of the utmost importance to cut off trade with the Red River country. I do not know what Admiral Porter would suggest if he was here, but I think he might possibly spare one or more of his rams.
I have not heard whether the barge of coal started to you last