with that of any army in the field, I venture to say, and every preparation is made for the sick that could be desired. I venture the assertion that no army ever went into the field with better arranged preparations for receiving sick and wounded soldiers than this. We have hospital-boats expressly fitted up, and with the Government and volunteer sanitary supplies, it is a great question whether one person in ten can be so well taken care of at their homes as the army can here. I will refer Surgeon Smith's letter to my medical director for a full report of the condition of the medical department here.
General Grant to General Halleck.—(letter.)
before Vicksburg, March 17, 1863.Since the giving way of the dam at the upper end of the canal, work with the dredges has progressed favorably, but all attempts to stop the rush of water into the canal have proved abortive. If required, however, the canal can be made to pass boats of ordinary size in a few days. The enemy were busily engaged firing from the opposite heights yesterday, and last night at the dredge-boat nearest the lower end of the canal. Their shots did no damage, though many of the large ones reached half way across the point. Ordinary Ohio river boats can now pass from Lake Providence into Bayou Macon, and thence by easy navigation to the mouth of Red river. I make no calculations upon using this route for the present, but it may be turned to practical use after effecting present plans. The same may be said of the canal across the point. I learn from Jackson (Mississippi) papers of the 14th, that one of our gunboats had run down to Grenada, and exchanged a few shots with the fort at that point. Further information from the enemy shows that several thousand troops have gone from Vicksburg up the Yazoo river. Besides four gunboats (one iron-clad), I have a division of troops there now, and Quimby's division in the pass, on their way down. One division from Memphis should also be on their way now. The great difficulty of getting small-class steamers, adapted to this service, has retarded movements by the way of Yazoo pass materially.