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No. 2.-report of Col. J. D. Webster, U. S. Army.

headquarters District of West Tennessee, Savannah, Tenn., April 3, 1862.
General: In obedience to your order of yesterday evening I visited the vicinity of Eastport and Chickasaw this forenoon, on the gunboat Tyler, Captain Gwin.

The abandonment by the enemy of their batteries in the neighborhood heretofore reported seems to be permanent. There is no apparent difficulty in making a landing at any point this side of the shoals above Chickasaw, which form the present limit of navigation for our gunboats. Is it desirable to make that landing with our forces and attempt the destruction of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad at its nearest approach to the river? The shortness of the distance is in favor of the idea. The considerations, on the other side, arise chiefly from the broken character of the ground over which the march would have to be made. The road running out from Eastport is understood to be a good one so far as transportation along it is concerned; but it is understood that it passes along a hollow or ravine, the hills on each side of which are abrupt, and would probably afford numerous positions which could be readily defended by a small force. This would make the progress along the route necessarily slow, probably sufficiently so to offset the gain in distance, besides causing loss of life, without achieving decisive results. I apprehend that these considerations apply with greater or less force to any route from the river to the railroad starting from any point above Hamburg. Information received to-day seems to confirm the accounts heretofore given and deemed reliable of the country over which these routes would pass. Besides this, if the river continues to fall Hamburg will in a few days be the head of navigation for our gunboats, whose services would be necessary to cover the debarkation of the troops. The enemy can hardly be so improvident as not to keep in readiness a large train of cars to throw a force to any threatened point of the line of railroad. Suppose they send by express riders from Hamburg to Corinth notice of our forces having gone up; this notice would be received at Corinth in little more than an hour from the time of our passing. It would be the work of but a few minutes to fill a train of 100 or 150 cars with troops and start them in time to reach the point of our attack before us, to re-enforce the troops already there.

The country in the vicinity of Corinth is understood from reliable information to be comparatively level. The woods are open; very free from undergrowth. I apprehend that a large, if not the principal, part of the enemy's artificial defenses will consist inthe rude abatis so much employed heretofore. To dislodge them from this what means can be [86] more effectual than a large artillery force with plenty of shrapnel and canister? Do not the means exist in this military department of making such an attack almost certainly overpowering and decisive?

It would afford me great pleasure if your views of duty should coincide with my wishes, which constantly lead me to hope that several batteries of the First Illinois Light Artillery, now at Saint Louis, may be ordered here in time to connect the name of that regiment with a decisive victory.

I am, very respectfully, general, your most obedient servant,

J. D. Webster, Colonel and Chief of Staff. Maj. Gen. U. S. Grant, Commanding District.

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Hamburg, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (3)
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