On March 25, Woods wrote to Paddock. "I have the honor to inform you, that the Ram Lancaster was totaly destroyed this morning in passing the Vicks- burg batteries & that the Monarch recieved an eighty four pound shot in her boiler & had one of her steam pipes cut. the extent of the damage cannot yet be assertained on account of the heat. I think it will take three or four days at least if not ten days to repair her. Admiral Farragut seems to think that the troops can be landed from the Gun Boats & the place destroyed. I do not feel so sanguin on the subject, as landing troops in small boats under the most favorable circum- stances, is necessarily slow work, & the enemy would have time to reinforce the place to any extent I send Maj Warner with this dispatch in order to receive orders. if it is determined to push this matter it will be necessary to have Rations as our Rations run out to day after dinner. Please indicate to Maj Warner what is to be done & if additi[on]al rations are required he will attend to having them got down to the canal Owing to the disaster to the Rams I was obliged to keep my men under the Levy near the crevasse until near ten Oclock, & in removing them to the shelter of the wood above this place it was impossible to keep them entirely concealed from the enemy, & I think it more than likely that they are aware of our intended movement." ALS, ibid., Letters Received. On the same day, Steele referred this letter to USG. ES, ibid. Also on March 25, Col. Charles H. Abbott, 30th Iowa, "Briggs plantation," wrote to Steele reporting the damage to the two rams. ALS, ibid. On the same day, Steele forwarded this letter to USG. AES, ibid.
Head Quarters, Dept. of the Ten.
Before Vicksburg, March 25th 1863.
COL. C. A. REYNOLDS,
CHIEF QUARTER MASTER,
You will retain in the service of the Government sufficient river transportation for the carriage of fifty thousand (50.000) men, including the proper proportion of Artillery & two regiments of Cavalry, Quartermaster Store & forage, Commissary Stores, Ordnance Stores, Camp & Garrison equipages, &c.
Get an exact account of all boats now here and on the way, and their exact capacity, and direct the quartermaster in Memphis to supply any deficiency.