if any property is burned, and it can be traced to the soldiers,
they have got to pay for it, and the proceeds pocketed by some
one just honest enough to keep it. Such doings as that won't
win, and it is time it was stopped. If all rebel property was
destroyed as soon as we came to it, this war would be ended much
sooner than it will be the way things are carried on now.
The Ohio boys of the Second Brigade are always able to "hold their own," and the title of "jayhawkers" has been given them by General Logan, who says he believes if they were put in front of Vicksburg they would have it torn down and be sleeping over it in less than three days.
Since I last wrote you the weather has undergone quite a change. Last night a regular old "nor'-wester" came upon us, preceded by rain, which knocked the tents in every direction, and had the boys up at work with hatchets and axes, staking down their houses for fear of having them carried away. The officers' quarters of Company E were among the unfortunate.
Boats continue to pass here daily loaded with soldiers, going both up and down the river. We had reports yesterday that a part of Logan's Division was to leave to-day for some point up the river; if it is so it will not likely be the "Flying Brigade" this time. We are in perfect ignorance as to what is going on, for we are unable to get any news at all, and our letters are generally about two weeks old before we get them.
The Lake Providence expedition being abandoned, an
effort was made to gain the rear of Vicksburg by the Yazoo Pass,
which also failed, after almost incredible labor and hardships.
Many boats in attempting this were seriously damaged, and were
compelled to go North for repairs. The rebels defeated the success
of the expedition by felling timber in the main channel; which
obstructions our forces removed in part, but finding it impracticable
abandoned the effort and all the troops returned to Sherman's
Landing, but nothing disheartened.
Sherman's great canal, intending to change the channel of the Mississippi river, also proved a failure. The only way left to gain the rear of Vicksburg was to run the blockade with a sufficient number of boats to supply and transport the army across the river below Grand Gulf. General Logan's Division was called upon to furnish volunteers to attempt the hazardous undertaking. The following men volunteered from the Seventy-Eighth Ohio: Captain Hugh Dunne, second in command of steamer J. W. Cheeseman; Sergeant James McLaughlin, Company D, engineer on Empire City; Corporal Henry Baugus, Company B; Henry H. Smith, Company F; Alexander White, Company F; Burke Clark, Company D; Abel Arter, Company D; Daniel Christman, Company E.
Six boats were put in readiness, and about midnight, started. The first passed part of the batteries before the rebels got aroused; soon the batteries opened, and one hundred and eighty pieces of heavy artillery, which lined the shore for about seven miles in extent, broke forth in the most awful grandeur, which lit up the heavens and seemed to shake the very pillars of the universe. Nothing but the interposition of a prospering Providence saved the boats, which were all more or less injured, in successfully passing the batteries.