Report of Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman, U. S. Army.
General Grant's instructions of March 31 I detached one section of Captain Munch's Minnesota battery (two 12-pounder howitzers), a detachment of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry of 150 men, under Major Ricker, and two battalions of infantry from the Fiftyseventh and Seventy-seventh Ohio, under the command of Colonels Hildebrand and Mungen. These were marched to the river and embarked on the steamers Empress and Tecumseh. The gunboat Cairo did not arrive at Pittsburg until after midnight, and at 6 a. m. Captain Bryant, commanding the gunboats, notified me that he should proceed up the river. I followed, keeping the transports within about 300 yards of the gunboats. About 1 p. m. the Cairo commenced shelling the battery above the mouth of Indian Creek, but elicited no reply. She proceeded up the river steadily and cautiously, followed close by the Tyler and Lexington, all throwing shells at the points where on former visits of the gunboats the enemy's batteries were found. In this order all followed till it was demonstrated that all the enemy's batteries, including that at Chickasaw, were abandoned. I ordered the battalion of infantry under Colonel Hildebrand to disembark at Eastport, and with the other battalion proceeded to Chickasaw and landed. The battery at this point had evidently been abandoned some time, and consisted of the remains of an old Indian mound partly washed away by the river, which had been fashioned into a two-gun battery, with a small magazine. The ground to its rear had evidently been overflowed during the late freshet, and led to the removal of the guns to Eastport, where the batteries were on high, elevated ground, accessible at all seasons from the country to the rear. Upon personal inspection, I attach little importance to Chickasaw as a military position. The people who had fled during the approach of the gunboats returned to the village, and said the place had been occupied by one Tennessee regiment and a battery of artillery from Pensacola. After remaining at Chickasaw some hours all the boats dropped back to Eastport, not more than a mile below, and landed there. Eastport Landing during the late freshet must have been about 12 feet under water, but at the present stage the landing is the best I have seen on the Tennessee River. The levee is clear of trees or snags, and a hundred boats could land there without confusion. The soil is of sand and gravel and very firm. The road back is hard, and at a distance of about 400 yards from the water the hard gravel hills of the country.  The infantry scouts sent out by Colonel Hildebrand found the enemy's cavalry mounted and watching the road to Iuka, about 2 miles back of Eastport. The distance from Iuka is only 8 miles, and Iuka is the nearest point and the best road by which the Charleston and Memphis Road can be reached. I could obtain no certain information as to the strength of the enemy at Iuka, but am satisfied that it would have been folly to have attempted it with my command, our object being to dislodge the enemy from the batteries recently erected near Eastport, and these being attained, I have returned, and report the river clear to and beyond Chickasaw. I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,