miles up the river. If nature does not change her laws, there will no doubt be a rise of water; but there was one year, 1846, when there was no rise in the Red River, and it may happen again. The rebels are cutting off the supply by diverting different sources of water into other channels; all of which would have been stopped, had our army arrived as far as Shreveport. I have done my best (and so have the officers and men under my command) to make this expedition a success throughout, and do not know that we have failed in any thing we have undertaken. Had we not heard of the retreat of the army, I should still have gone on to the end. A wise Providence, which rules and directs all things, has thought proper to stay our progress and throw impediments in the way, for some good reason. We have nothing left but to try it again, and hold on to this country with all the force we can raise. It is just as valuable to us and important to the cause as any other portion of the Union. Those who have interests here, and are faithful to the Government, have a right to expect our protection, and when this part of Louisiana is conquered, we hold Arkansas and all the right bank of the Mississippi without firing another gun. There is a class of men who have during this war shown a great deal of bravery and patriotism, and who have seldom met with any notice from those whose duty it is to report such matters. I speak of the pilots on the Western waters. Without any hope of future reward, through fame, or in a pecuniary way, they enter into the business of piloting the transports through dangers that would make a faint-hearted man quail. Occupying the most exposed position, a fair mark for a sharp-shooter, they are continually fired at, and often hit, without so much as a mention being made of their gallantry. On this expedition they have been much exposed, and have showed great gallantry in managing their vessels while under fire, in this, to them, unknown river. I beg leave to pay this small tribute to their bravery and zeal, and must say, as a class, I never knew a braver set of men. I also beg leave to mention favorably Acting Master H, H. Gorringe, commanding this vessel. He has shown great zeal, courage, and ability during this expedition, serving his guns rapidly and well, at his post night and day, ready for any thing, and assisting materially in getting the transports by dangerous points. Mounting one of his twenty-four pounder howitzers on his upper deck, he was enabled to sweep the bank in all directions, and one or two fires had the desired effect. He was of great service to me throughout the expedition; was slightly wounded, but nothing of consequence, (owing to his exposing himself so much.) I have the honor to be, very respectfully your obedient servant,
flag-ship Black Hawk, Mississippi Squadron, off Alexandria, La., April 17, 1864.sir: I have the honor to report my arrival at this point for a few hours. I shall return to Grand Ecore in two hours. I had succeeded in getting all the large vessels over the bar at Grand Ecore, and in a fair way of getting down as far as Alexandria, when I heard the Eastport had sunk eight miles below. I sent down at once and found it to be so; she was five hours sinking, said to be done by a torpedo; she don't seem to be damaged much. I came down for my steam-pump boats; have one alongside the Eastport already, and take another up with me to-day. There will be trouble getting her up if the river ever rises again; the water comes as high as her gun-deck; her guns and heavy articles have been taken off. I came here and found trouble at Fort Pillow;. the policy pursued, in not defending the strong posts where so much blood and treasure have been expended, will always cause these difficulties. I had two boats up there, but the negro and invalid garrison were not strong enough to do their part. I have sent the Essex, Benton, Choctaw, La Fayette, Ouachita, and Avenger up to Fort Pillow to prevent any permanent landing there. I sent an expedition up the Washita as far as Munroe, which captured three thousand bales of confederate cotton, brought away eight hundred negroes, and destroyed much rebel property. The expedition was under Lieutenant Commander Foster, and was particularly successful. I am bringing up light-draught vessels to take the place of the heavy boats during the low water. We have only eight feet of water between this and Grand Ecore, and many lumps exist. This expedition, and the failure of the army to advance, have given me a great deal of trouble; but I don't despair of getting out of it. It is only a matter of want of water, and I cannot think that this river would fail to rise while all the others are booming. Being constantly engaged in providing for the many curious cases that are daily occurring, I hope you will excuse me for not making fuller reports. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Additional report of rear-admiral D. D. Porter.
flag-ship Cricket, Mississippi Squadron, off Alexandria, La., April 28, 1864.sir: I had the honor to inform you, in my communication No. 106, of the sinking of the Eastport while proceeding down to Alexandria, caused by the explosion of a torpedo under her bottom, and near her bow. On hearing this bad news, I proceeded at once to the vessel, and found her sunk to the gun-deck; the water over it on one side. I saw that no time was to be lost, and went at once to Alexandria, in hopes of finding one of our steam pump-boats, then due. Lieutenant Commander Phelps had already sent a tug down