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Appendix to chapter VI.

[I am indebted to General Sherman for a copy of the following interesting letter, the original not having been preserved by General Grant. I give it entire, with the exception of the concluding paragraph, which adds nothing to the elucidation of General Sherman's views, and contains simply a confidential remark, entirely distinct from the remainder of the letter.]

General Sherman to Colonel Rawlins.

headquarters, Fifteenth army corps, camp near Vicksburg, April 8, 1863.
Colonel J. A. Rawlins, A. A. G. to General Grant:
sir,—I would most respectfully suggest, for reasons which I will not name, that General Grant call on his corps commanders for their opinions, concise and positive, on the best general plan of campaign. Unless this be done, there are men who will, in any result falling below the popular standard, claim that their advice was unheeded, and that fatal consequences resulted therefrom. My own opinions are:

1. That the Army of the Tennessee is far in advance of the other grand armies.

2. That a corps from Missouri should forthwith be moved [617] from St. Louis to the vicinity of Little Rock, Arkansas, supplies collected while the river is full, and land communication with Memphis opened via Des Ark on the White, and Madison on the St. Francis rivers.

3. That as much of Yazoo pass, Coldwater, and Tallahatchie rivers as can be gained and fortified be held, and the main army be transported thither by land and water; that the road back to Memphis be secured and reopened; and as soon as the waters subside, Grenada be attacked, and the swamp road across to Helena be patrolled by cavalry.

4. That the line of the Yallabusha be the base from which to operate against the points where the Mississippi Central crosses Big Black above Canton, and lastly where the Vicksburg and Jackson railroad crosses the same river.

The capture of Vicksburg would result.

5. That a force be left in this vicinity, not to exceed ten thousand men, with only enough steamboats to float and transport them to any direct point. This force to be held always near enough to act with the gunboats, when the main army is known to be near Vicksburg, Haine's bluff, or Yazoo City.

6. I do doubt the capacity of Willow bayou (which I estimate to be fifty miles long and very tortuous) for a military channel, capable of supporting an army large enough to operate against Jackson, Mississippi, or Black river bridge; and such a channel will be very valuable to a force coming from the west, which we must expect. Yet this canal will be most useful as the way to convey coals and supplies to a fleet that should navigate the reach between Vicksburg and Red river.

7. The chief reason for operating solely by water, was the season of the year and high water in Tallahatchie and Yallabusha. The spring is now here, and soon these streams will be no serious obstacle, save the ambuscades of the forest, and whatever works the enemy may have erected at or near Grenada. North Mississippi is too valuable to allow them to hold and make crops.

I make these suggestions, with the request that General Grant simply read them, and give them, as I know he will, a share of his thoughts. I would prefer he should not answer them, but merely give them as much or as little weight as they deserve. Whatever plan of action he may adopt will receive from [618] me the same zealous cooperation and energetic support, as though conceived by myself.

I am, etc., W. T. Sherman, Major-General.

Headquarters, Department of the Tennessee,

Special orders, no. 110.

Milliken's bend, La., April 20, 1863.
VIII. The following orders are published for the information and guidance of the ‘Army in the Field,’ in its present movement to obtain a foothold on the east bank of the Mississippi river, from which Vicksburg can be approached by practicable roads:

1. The Thirteenth army corps, Major-General John A. McClernand commanding, will constitute the right wing.

2. The Fifteenth army corps, Major-General W. T. Sherman commanding, will constitute the left wing.

3. The Seventeenth army corps, Major-General James B. McPherson commanding, will constitute the centre.

4. The order of march to New Carthage will be from right to left.

5. Reserves will be formed by divisions from each army corps, or an entire army corps will be held as a reserve, as necessity may require. When the reserve is formed by divisions, each division will remain under the immediate command of its respective corps commanders, unless otherwise specially ordered, for a particular emergency.

6. Troops will be required to bivouac, until proper facilities can be afforded for the transportation of camp equipage.

7. In the present movement, one tent will be allowed to each company for the protection of rations from rain; one wall tent for each regimental headquarters; one wall tent for each brigade headquarters, and one wall tent for each division headquarters. Corps commanders having the books and blanks of their respective commands to provide for, are authorized to take such tents as are absolutely necessary, but not to exceed the number allowed by General Orders, No. 160, A. G. O., Series of 1862 [619]

8. All the teams of the three army corps, under the immediate charge of the quartermasters bearing them on their returns, will constitute a train for carrying supplies and ordnance, and the authorized camp equipage of the army.

9. As fast as the Thirteenth army corps advances, the Seventeenth army corps will take its place; and it, in turn, will be followed in like manner by the Fifteenth army corps.

10. Two regiments from each army corps will be detailed by corps commanders, to guard the lines from Richmond to New Carthage.

11. General hospitals will be established, by the medical director, between Duckport and Milliken's bend. All sick and disabled soldiers will be left in these hospitals. Surgeons in charge of hospitals will report convalescents, as fast as they become fit for duty. Each corps commander will detail an intelligent and good drill officer, to remain behind to take charge of the convalescents of their respective corps; officers so detailed will organize the men under their charge into squads and companies, without regard to the regiments they belong to; and in the absence of convalescent commissioned officers to command them, will appoint non-commissioned officers or privates. The force so organized will constitute the guard of the line from Duckport to Milliken's bend. They will furnish all the guards and details required for general hospitals, and with the contrabands that may be about the camps, will furnish all the details for loading and unloading boats.

12. The movement of troops from Milliken's bend to New Carthage will be so conducted as to allow the transportation of ten days supply of rations, and one-half the allowance of ordnance required by previous orders.

13. Commanders are authorized and enjoined to collect all the beef cattle, corn, and other necessary supplies on the line of march; but wanton destruction of property, taking of articles useless for military purposes, insulting citizens, going into and searching houses without proper orders from division commanders, are positively prohibited. All such irregularities must be summarily punished.

14. Brigadier-General J. C. Sullivan is appointed to the command of all the forces detailed for the protection of the line from here to New Carthage. His particular attention is [620] called to General Orders No. 69, from Adjutant-General's office, Washington, of date March 20, 1863.

By order of

Major-General U. S. Grant. John A. Rawlins, Assistant-Adjutant General.

Smith's plantation, La., April 18, 1863.
Major-General J. A. McCLERNAND, commanding Thirteenth Army Corps:
I would still repeat former instructions, that possession be got of Grand Gulf at the very earliest possible moment. Once there, no risk should be taken in following the enemy until our forces are concentrated. Troops first there should intrench themselves for safety, and the whole of your corps be concentrated as rapidly as our means of transportation will permit. General McPherson will be closing upon you as rapidly as your troops can be got away, and rations supplied.

I see that great caution will have to be observed in getting barges past the crevasse near Carthage, and I apprehend a loss of some artillery may be encountered.

I will send over at once the pontoon train, with men to lay it. It can, at least, be thrown across Bayou Vidal, opposite your headquarters, to enable troops and artillery to march a good portion of the way to Carthage. If it can possibly be laid so as to cross the levee crevasse near Carthage, it would be of much greater service. Should we succeed in getting steamers past Vicksburg, they will bring you a further supply of rations. In the mean time, all the wagons, including all the regimental trains, should be kept constantly on the road between here and Milliken's bend. The number of wagons available is increasing daily. Troops guarding the different points between here and Richmond, should gather all the beef cattle and forage within reach of them, and destroy no more than they can use.

I will be over here in a few days again, and hope it will be my good fortune to find you in safe possession of Grand Gulf.

You do not want to start, however, without feeling yourself secure in the necessary transportation.

U. S. Grant, Major-General.


in the field, April 24, 1863.
Major-General W. T. Sherman, commanding Fifteenth Army Corps:
In company with Admiral Porter I made to-day a reconnoissance of Grand Gulf. My impressions are, that if an attack can be made within the next two days, the place will easily fall. But the difficulties of getting from here (Smith's Plantation) to the river are great.

I foresee great difficulties in our present position, but it will not do to let these retard any movements. In the first place, if a battle should take place, we are necessarily very destitute of all preparations for taking care of wounded men. All the little extras for this purpose were put on board the Tigress, the only boat that was lost. The line from here to Milliken's bend is a long one for the transportation of supplies, and to defend, and an impossible one for the transportation of wounded men. The water in the bayous is falling very rapidly, out of all proportion to the fall in the river, so that it is exceedingly doubtful whether they can be made use of for the purposes of navigation. One inch fall in the river diminishes the supply of water to the bayous to a very great extent, while their capacity for carrying it away remains the same. Should the river fall sufficiently to draw off all the water on the point where you are encamped, our line will have to be by wagons across to below the Warrenton batteries.

Whilst there I wish you would watch matters, and should the water fall sufficiently, make the necessary roads for this purpose. You need not move any portion of your corps more than is necessary for the protection of the road to Richmond until ordered. It may possibly happen that the enemy may so weaken his forces about Vicksburg and Haine's bluff, as to make the latter vulnerable, particularly with a fall of water to give an extended landing. I leave the management of affairs at your end of the line to you.

I shall send Surgeon Hewitt to the bend to-morrow, to consult with the medical director about the best policy to pursue for caring for our sick and wounded.

U. S. Grant, Major-General.


headquarters, Department of the Tennessee, in the field, April 24, 1863.
Major-General J. A. Mcclernand, commanding Thirteenth Army Corps:
I would like to have General Osterhaus make a reconnoissance, in person, to a point on the Mississippi, opposite the mouth of Bayou Pierre, and a short distance below, to where there is a road leading from the river to Grand Gulf. The map shows such a road.

It is desirable to learn if there is a landing at that point, and, if it can be done by inquiry, to learn also the condition of the road on the opposite side. If a landing cannot be made in front at Grand Gulf, it may be necessary to reach there by this route. The map shows this road, and also a good road from the same point to Port Gibson.

It is also important to know if there is a road on the west bank of the river from here to a point below Grand Gulf. Should any of our gunboats get below the Gulf, and not be able to return, it could be used in communicating with them.

U. S. Grant, Major-General.

Perkins's plantation, La., April 27, 1863.
Major-General J. A. McCLERNAND, commanding Thirteenth Army Corps:
Commence immediately the embarkation of your corps, or so much of it as there is transportation for. Have put aboard the artillery, and every article authorized in orders limiting baggage, except the men, and hold them in readiness, with their places assigned, to be moved at a moment's warning.

All the troops you may have, except those ordered to remain behind, send to a point nearly opposite Grand Gulf, where you will see, by special orders of this date, General McPherson is ordered to send one division.

The plan of the attack will be for the navy to attack and silence all the batteries commanding the river. Your corps will be in the river, ready to run to and debark on the nearest eligible land below the promontory first brought to view passing down the river. Once on shore, have each commander instructed [623] beforehand to form his men the best the ground will admit of, and take possession of the most commanding points, but avoid separating your command so that it cannot support itself. The first object is to get a foothold where our troops can maintain themselves until such time as preparations can be made and troops collected for a forward movement.

Admiral Porter has proposed to place his boats in the position indicated to you a few days ago, and to bring over with them such troops as may be below the city after the guns of the enemy are silenced.

It may be that the enemy will occupy positions back from the city, out of range of the gunboats, so as to make it desirable to run past Grand Gulf, and land at Rodney. In case this should prove the plan, a signal will be arranged, and you duly informed, when the transports are to start with this view. Or, it may be expedient for the boats to run past, but not the men. In this case, then, the transports would have to be brought back to where the men could land, and move by forced marches to below Grand Gulf, reembark rapidly and proceed to the latter place. There will be required, then, three signals; one, to indicate that the transports can run down and debark the troops at Grand Gulf; one, that the transports can run by without the troops; and the last, that transports can run by with the troops on board.

Should the men have to march, all baggage and artillery will be left to run the blockade.

If not already directed, require your men to keep three days rations in their haversacks, not to be touched until a movement commences.

U. S. Grant, Major-General.

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