War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0448 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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however, connected with the murders that deserves to be more fully brought out. The men killed were sick and were lying asleep in the wagon when waylaid.

Also please find inclosed report of Brigadier-General Williams, who went up the river with the flag-officer, marked A.* I have sent him three additional regiments and a battery of artillery (Nims'), as will be seen by my letter of this date, marked B.* General Williams was mistaken as to the number of the enemy's forces at baton Rouge, and the second day after no person had attacked him. His re-enforcements have by this time reached him. Starvation and demoralization are doing their work so fast upon Lovell's forces that it was hardly worth while to disturb them. I have sent up to Baton Rouge quite one-half of my effective force, after deducing the garrison of the forts. The flag-officer has returned. i have had a very full consultation with him. I inclose copy of his letter to me of the 22nd of May, which was the first report I have of the operations above, marked D.

I am of opinion that it is all-important that we take Vicksburg, hold it or not, after the insulting letters sent back)copies of which I inclose)+ by the civil and military authorities there. Vicksburg must be reduced, to ashes if need be, but reduced. That town out of the way, the river is open to Memphis without opposition, saving perhaps some small works at the mouth of the Arkansas. This would effectively keep the rebels from getting supplies across the Mississippi River, or, if defeated at Corinth, their retreat into Arkansas, of which last there is only a probability. The flag-officer agreed with my views upon this topic and, I believe, has to-day ordered Commander Porter's mortar fleet up the river from Ship Island, where it has been lying since it left the Mississippi River after the 24th of April, being the lest day on which it fired a shot at Fort Jackson. With that force I have no doubt we can remove the batteries at Vicksburg. I shall co-operate with the flag-officer with one-half or more of my entire force, all that can possibly be spared from here. I think you will agree with me in the present necessity for more men here, if we are not to be joined by the armies up the river.

I sent to General Brannan, at Key West, for the two regiments that were promised me by the order of the commanding general, but failed to get them, for the reasons stated in General Brannan's reply, which, with my request, is annexed, by copies, marked E and F.

The Department will be better able to judge than myself of our necessities here. I have about 12,000 effective men of all arms, and should not have had so many save that I have filled up my regiments by recruiting.

In the present temper of the country here it is cruel to take possession of any point unless we continue to hold it with an armed force, because when we have possession of any place those well-disposed show us kindness and good wishes. The moment we leave that place a few ruffians come in and maltreat every person who has not "scowled at the Yankees." Therefore it is that I have been very chary of possessing myself of various small points, which could easily be done, because I could not dissipate my forces into small detachments for holding places so taken possession of.

Again, it is nearly useless to go over a country with a few thousand men hundreds of miles (and distance are reckoned here by hundreds of miles) only to leave it again.


* See reports, pp. 22-24.

+ See reports, pp. 12-14.