Today in History:

97 Series I Volume XLI-I Serial 83 - Price's Missouri Expedition Part I


River. I deem it proper to state that my proposition is made from and earnest desire to promote the interest of the service, and with no desire to intrude my views upon you: First, the main object, t cross the troops en masse in order that their organization may be retained and capable of entering at once upon an active field of usefulness. To accomplish this it will be necessary to take with the troops subsistence, artillery, an trains. This can only be done by a pontoon bridge, which I propose to use, as follows: To construct 100 additional pontoons with chesses and balks. These to be taken by steamers or rowed to the nearest point which can be reached contiguous to the proposed point for crossing the Mississippi River, thence by land to the point selected. To cross one- half the boats with as many men as they will transport, to act as a guard and render such assistance as may be necessary, to the east bank of the river with their complement of balks and chesses, and to put the bridge timbers on the pontoons, commencing on both sides at the same time; that when completed they shall be swung in position by row- boats attached (see sketch). That large boats, anchored 60 feet above the line of the bridge at intervals of 150 feet be prepared, over which a hawser shall be passed and guy lines holding the bridge in position connected with the bridge. That all the siege guns that can be collected be placed in a tete- de- pont commanding the bridge and at distances of half a mile above and below the bridge site. That in addition torpedoes should be placed across the river above and below the bridge as indicated by sketch. That men be place on the anchor boats provided with water buckets and shoed poles to prevent fire- rafts from being floated against the bridge. By observing the utmost secrecy as to our intentions and promulgating the advance of our forces on Missouri or Lower Louisiana, our preparations could be made under cover of this mask, nd I believe if we could not cross secretly we could force our passage. Should these views meet with your approval, I have the honor to respectfully recommend that Lieutenant Haney, with his company of engineer troops from Arkansas, and Lieutenant N. H. Smith, with his company of engineer troops from Galveston, Tex., be ordered to report to me immediately at Shreveport to assist in constructing the pontoons. In thirty days I can prepare everything which belongs to my branch of the service, and confidently believe our efforts will be crowned with success. Should my views prove correct, the important turn of affairs which the troops would give,lending their assistance to the army in Georgia, now pressed almost to the wall, would guarantee any sacrifice here and no effort should be lost to the accomplishment of the great object in view. I have the honor to state my readiness to enter at once upon the duties which may be assigned me in this important undertaking, feeling confident that we will succeed,a nd knowing that our success is of such vital importance.

I am, genera, with great respect, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant- Colonel and Chief Engineer.



Commanding Trans- Mississippi Department:

GENERAL: I have the honor to state that I heartily approve of Colonel Douglas' plan, and believe it the only effectual means of throwing organized bodies of troops across the Mississippi. The delay is only