Doc. 121.-expedition up Yazoo River.
Report of rear-admiral D. D. Porter.
flag-ship Black Hawk, Mississippi Squadron, Cairo, February 17, 1864.sir: Inclosed I send you a report of Lieutenant Commander Owen, in relation to an expedition I sent up Yazoo River to cooperate with General Sherman, (who is marching on Meridian,) and to confuse the enemy with regard to movements on foot. It appears the troops did not consider themselves strong enough to land, and force the position. The vessels will work their way along cautiously until the water is high enough to send an iron-clad or two. This move has had the effect of driving the guerrillas away from the Mississippi, as they are fearful it is intended to cut them off. I don't expect much from the expedition beyond diverting their attention. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Report of Lieutenant E. K. Owen.
Liverpool, number about two thousand seven hundred men, under Ross, with two pieces of artillery. We silenced their guns, the army holding its position on the hills. At nightfall, the troops reembarked, and we dropped down for the night. The casualties were: the Petrel struck four times, without any serious damage; the other vessels, Marmora, Exchange, and Romeo, receiving no damage of any consequence, The Exchange and Romeo were hit several times by sharp-shooters. On the morning of the fourth, we advanced for another attack, but found the enemy had gone, leaving only a small force of about two hundred sharp-shooters to annoy us and the transports in passing. The wheel-houses of the sunken steamer Ivy are above water directly opposite Liverpool, and in the narrowest part of the river. To the right of her, however, there is plenty of water. The river is high and rising. I forgot to mention the land forces lost eight killed and twenty-two wounded in the attack of the third. We understand that there are about eight thousand men, under Stark, Ross, and Loring, at Yazoo City. Our spies and scouts have failed to return. To-morrow will probably develop the strength of the enemy. I am happy to say that Colonel Coates, commanding the land forces, and myself, get along together very well, nor have any of the crews of the vessels touched any property of any description without sanction of the owners, and paying the full value in money. I issued stringent orders in relation to pillaging, etc. The Exchange was struck twice out of four shots to-day in the first reconnoissance, but no one hurt. One shot struck within two feet of the boilers, without doing any damage. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Letter from rear-admiral Porter, transmitting additional report of Lieutenant Commander E. K. Owen.
flag-ship Black Hawk, Mississippi Squadron, Red River, March 6, 1864.sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith copy of report from Lieutenant Commander E. K. Owen, in relation to movements up the Yazoo River. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Additional report of Lieutenant E. K. Owen.
Forrest, and our own under Colonel Osband. We had two wounded. The enemy has fallen back to Grenada, and are fortifying that place. If the way is tolerably clear and the force not too heavy, our cavalry force (two hundred and fifty) and a portion of the infantry (five hundred) will go out in the morning. If we find the enemy too strong, we will go down the river, as the Tallahatchie and Yallabusha are entirely too low to ascend. This river is also falling rapidly, with only eight feet in the channel above Honey Island. I shall take good care that no boats shall get caught. The Star of the West is still in the channel in the Tallahatchie, with her wheels and upper-works out. Fort Pemberton is entirely destroyed,  as also all the cotton out of which it was built. We have succeeded, so far, in gathering about four hundred and fifty bales of cotton, of which eighty are on the gunboats, and the rest on the transports. Fifty-three bales are all of the C. S.A. that have been captured, though but very little of any is marked at all. When we leave here, it will be to go up the Little Schula, as far as the town of that name. Then we go down the river, fill up with coal, and ascend the Sunflower. There has been no Union sentiment of any moment or value expressed since our advent into these waters. On the Sunflower, however, we have reason to believe it is prominent. This is an insignificant place, containing about forty houses of all kinds, and entirely of frame buildings. The inhabitants have mostly fled, leaving a few poor Irish. It is a rendezvous for dry-goods merchants, who obtain large supplies from Memphis via Friar's Point. We have met with no young men as yet, all having been forced into the army. The last military order of the rebels is to remove or shoot all the negroes between the ages of forty-five and sixteen. Some few negroes have already been shot by the rebel scouts. I have been up the Tallahatchie as far as where the Star of the West is sunk, which is directly opposite the Fort, (Pemberton.) At the mouth of the Yallabusha the Ed. J. Gay is sunk, the decks being just above water. About one mile below, the Arcadia is sunk, with her upper-works out, and nearly filling the river at this stage of water. We found great difficulty in turning and coming down, the light upper-works suffering to some extent. The rebel steamer Sharpe was burnt a few days ago in the Yallabusha, to prevent her falling into our hands. As the river is falling quite rapidly, and with thirteen boats in the fleet, I think I shall drop down below the bars. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,