Report of Brig. Gen. David Stuart, U. S. Army, commanding Second
HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Young’s Point, La., March 29, 1863
SIR: In pursuance of an order of General Grant, I embarked the troops
of the Second Division on transports at Young’s Point, on the morning of
the 17th instant, with the exception of the Fifty-fifth Illinois, then
absent on other duty, and the Eighth Missouri, which had preceded us on
the 16th, by order of General Sherman. My instructions were to debark at
Eagle Bend, on the river, and cross the plantation near Muddy Bayou, to
Steele’s Bayou; there to embark on transports and move up to Rolling fork,
reporting to Major-General Sherman.
Arriving about 1 p.m. at Eagle Bend, I reconnoitered
the ground, and found it impassable for the troops without the construction
of rafts and bridges. A suggestion from a citizen that the crossing might
be effected some 20 miles above, near Tallulah, induced me to dispatch
Col. Giles A. Smith, commanding First Brigade, with his boat, to reconnoiter
that point. Meanwhile I proceeded to construct a crossing at Eagle Bend,
using for the purpose the negro huts and frame of the cotton-gin found
on the plantation belonging, as I learned, in part to Senator (William
M.) Gwin, of California.
At night I returned to Young’s Point to acquaint
Major-General Grant with the condition of things, and receive his instructions.
The general informed me that he had ordered his boat, the Magnolia, to
move up to our rendezvous at 1 o’clock that night, and that he would join
us at daylight.
On my return to Eagle Bend, Col. Giles A.
Smith reported to me, as the result of his exploration, that the country
back of Tallulah was submerged, and that it was impracticable for the passage
of troops. General Grant arriving, passed over the route, and ordering
it proceeded with as rapidly as possible, I pushed it with all the force
I could employ upon it.
I passed the troops over it on the 19th, and
embarked 950 men on the Silver Wave, the only boat reporting for the service.
I met General Sherman on a tug, at the mouth of Muddy Bayou, while embarking
for the first trip. We landed at the first piece of dry land on Black Bayou,
about 1 ½ miles below Hill’s plantation. General Sherman remaining
with the troops, I returned on the Silver Wave, to push forward the remainder
of the troops. Another load by the Wave I landed at the mouth of Black
Bayou, and transferred them on a flat-boat to the landing above mentioned.
A third trip by the Wave, and two each by the Diligent and Eagle, transported
the entire command.
Arriving at Hill’s plantation on the morning
of the 23d instant with General Ewing’s brigade, I soon received an order
from General Sherman, advising me that the gunboats and troops were on
their return march, and instructing me to send out a regiment to meet them
some 4 miles out. I dispatched at once the Fourth West Virginia, established
a strong picket on the west side of Deer Creek, with a regiment thrown
out some 4 miles in that direction, and awaited the return of the troops.
On the 24th, General Sherman, with the troops
and gunboats, came back. We remained at Hill’s plantation until the 26th,
awaiting some threatening demonstrations of the enemy; but finding they
had no intention of coming near us, but seemed a mere hovering party, General
Sherman ordered the re-embarkation of the troops, and about 3 o’clock in
the afternoon we descended the Black Bayou and arrived at Young’s Point
on the evening of the 27th.
The few casualties are referred to in the
reports of my brigade commanders, to which I beg leave respectfully to
I take leave to compliment Major Vance, Fourth
West Virginia, who was detailed as a field officer in command of the details
ordered from each regiment to accompany and guard the stores on the Silver
Wave. He was of a very great service and assistance to me in every way,
in embarking and disembarking, distributing and regulating the distribution
of the rations, ammunition, &c. he is a very faithful, assiduous, and
Colonel Parry, with his Forty-seventh Ohio
Regiment, built the road, rafts, and bridges across the plantation at Muddy
Bayou. I never knew a regiment do so much and so good a work in so short
a time. They are the best set of men I have had to do with in the army,
and Colonel Parry himself one of the most energetic of officers.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Capt. L.M. DAYTON, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
Text and Maps:
THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A COMPILATION OF THE OFFICIAL RECORDS OF THE
UNION AND CONFEDERATE ARMIES PREPARED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY
OF WAR, BY BVT. LIEUT. COL. ROBERT N. SCOTT, THIRD U.S. ARTILLERY AND PUBLISHED
PURSUANT TO ACT OF CONGRESS APPROVED JUNE 16, 1880.
The US Government Printing Office
Volume: XXXVI: Pages 430-667
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