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[296] steamer and several barges had passed through it; when the rapid fall1 of the river closed it for the season.

A third and more determined effort to flank the defenses of Vicksburg was made on the east side of the Mississippi, by way of the “Yazoo Pass;” which, leaving the great river a little below Helena, flows through Moon Lake into the Coldwater, and down this stream into the Tallahatchie, which, uniting with the Yallobusha, forms the Yazoo.

Brig.-Gen. L. F. Ross, with a division of Gen. McClernand's corps from Helena, and the 12th and 17th Missouri, of Sherman's corps, headed this expedition, some 5,000 strong, which included the large gunboats Chilicothe and De Kalb, five smaller ones, and eighteen transports, under the command of Lt. Watson Smith. The passage through the levee of the Mississippi having been considerably enlarged, our vessels in succession boldly entered on the narrow, tortuous, but now headlong current, which bore them under a gigantic, over-arching forest, into Moon Lake, and thus onward to the Coldwater. So constant and formidable were the obstacles encountered, in the shape of abrupt turns, fallen trees, inadequate depth, and sturdy limbs that swept away smoke-stacks and other standing fixtures, that three days were required for this transit, though the distance was barely twelve miles. Of course, the Rebels, who were fully and constantly posted, did not diminish these impediments, but were prone to aggravate them.

Proceeding2 down the Coldwater, the obstacles to be overcome were changed rather than diminished. The channel was a little wider, but hardly less crooked, while its cur rent was sluggish; the impulse gained from the Mississippi having been lost by a diffusion of the water over the swamps and bottoms on either side. Two mortar-boats here overtook the flotilla; and the mouth of the Coldwater was at length reached: our vessels having experienced some damage to rudders, wheels, and other works, but having encountered no serious resistance from the enemy; and with no vessel sunk or disabled.

Moving down the Tallahatchie, to a sharp easterly bend ten miles above its junction with the Yallobusba, the expedition was brought3 to a stand, just above the little village of Greenwood.

Maj.-Gen. W. W. Loring had been dispatched4 from Jackson to the Yazoo to bar any access by our forces to the valley of that river; and, having hastily studied its configuration and that of its chief tributaries, had chosen this as the point most favorable for resistance. The meeting streams approach within a mile, two or three moles above their junction; receding directly afterward. Loring, with his engineer, Maj. Meriwether, had obstructed the Tallahatchie by a raft,5 with an old steamboat sunk behind it, and thrown a line of defenses, composed of cotton-bales and earth, across the neck of the peninsula; its best guns,

1 April 10 to 25.

2 March 2.

3 March 11.

4 Feb. 17.

5 Loring reports that this reft had not been completed when our fleet arrived. The New York Tribune correspondent with the expedition says Lt. Smith's invincible lack of resolution and energy, and manifest indifference, retarded. by several days, the arrival of our vessels at this point, and was the true cause of our utterly needless failure.

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