from their view by a dense forest from the enemy's skirmishers, I have despatched some three hundred men, under Major Whitmore, of the Thirtieth Massachusetts, for picket and reconnoitring on that side of the town. In the next five or six days I hope to be in the possession of much information regarding the batteries, their approaches, and the forces in support. Respectfully, your obed't servant,
T. Williams, Brigadier-General Volunteers Commanding.P. S.--Lieutenant Elliott's Brigade Quartermaster goes down for supplies, and can furnish details not given here.
headquarters Second brigade, below Vicksburgh, July 6, 1862.Captain: The Tennessee left here last evening with the mail, but hearing the beating of drums at Grand Gulf, proceeded no further, and returned this evening for an additional gunboat to protect her in passing that point. Her return enabled me to supply an omission in my report of the fourth instant. It is that the eight long-ranged rifled guns of Nims's and Everett's batteries, from their position behind the levee at Burney's Point, distant seven eighths of a mile from the enemy's nearest battery on the upper side of Vicksburgh, cooperated gallantly and effectively with the fleet in the cannonade and bombardment of the twenty-eighth ult. Everett's battery lost one man and one horse killed. The fall of the water in the river is nearly at a stand-point, and the drift of logs and brush foreshadow what the newspapers promise, namely, a June rise. The work of the negro force on the cut-off, they being organized into squads of twenty, with an intelligent non-commissioned officer or private to each, superintended by officers, is satisfactory. The Flag-Officer and his fleet are most sanguine and even enthusiastic. I regard the cut-off to be my best bower. Should it fail me, I shall resort to the next best — to seize and hold the enemy's batteries, or at least spike their guns. Respectfully, your obed't servant,
T. Williams, Brigadier-General of Volunteers.P. S.--The reconnoissance of to-day has shown how we ought not to approach the batteries; that of to-morrow will probably give the affirmative side.
Running the Vicksburgh forts.The annexed letter was written by a young participant on board the United States steamer Hartford, the flag-ship of Commodore Farragut.
Vicksburgh, and are now anchored above the city some three miles, in company with four of the advance boats of Flag-Officer Davis, of the Upper Mississippi Flotilla. The project of silencing and capturing the batteries at the city of Vicksburgh, Miss., had been in contemplation for some time, in order to effectually open the river, and it was at first thought that the squadron under Commodore Farragut could accomplish this end alone, but a reconnoissance made a month since induced the belief that we could not attain a sufficient elevation with our guns to reach the rebel batteries located on the bluffs. Accordingly the mortar fleet of Commodore Porter, which was then lying at Pensacola, was sent for, and after the lapse of a month all the vessels of the fleet were towed up the river and anchored below the city of Vicksburgh. This ship, together with the Richmond and Brooklyn, arrived some three or four days previous to the fight. The navigation of the river with large ships had to be made with extreme caution, and rendered it necessary to come to anchor at night, so that our progress up the river was very slow. A part of our fleet was left at New-Orleans and Baton Rouge, but a majority of the vessels were brought up the river. On the twenty-sixth instant the bomb-flotilla opened fire on the batteries, but met with very little response. Their labors, however, only continued during daylight. The nature of the country in and around Vicksburgh rendered it admirably adapted for defensive operations, and the rebels seemed to have taken advantage of it, and mounted guns in every commanding position. Their increased strength was apparent, and indicated that no time had been thrown away since our first reconnaissance was made. The city of Vicksburgh is located on the side of a hill which slopes gradually down to the water's edge. Guns were mounted in front of the city, back of the city, to the sides of the city, in fact, in the city. No thought seemed to be given to the safety of the place, their desire to bar the passage of vessels up the river predominating over all else. Just as day began to dawn on the morning of the twenty-eighth, the rebel batteries opened on us. The Richmond, Scioto and Oneida preceded us, while the Brooklyn and the gunboats brought up the rear. By the time we had got in complete range it was fully daylight, and an immense shower of solid shot was poured into us. The fire seemed to come from columbiads, and was particularly directed on the flag-ship. Our starboard battery was belching forth a fearful hail on the rebels, whilst we were going at such a slow rate of speed as to scarcely give us steerage-way. Most of their batteries mounted one or two guns, and were scattered over the whole surface of the hill. Some were mounted behind earthworks, whilst some were protected by solid rocks. We were so close to the batteries that the men could be seen working the guns and waving their hats in defiance. Most of their shots were too high to disable us, but completely tore our rigging to pieces. They also cut off about seven or eight feet of our maintopsail yard, but the toplift prevented it from falling. A solid shot struck us just at the water's edge, and lodged