I shall take thirty days' provisions and a full supply of ammunition for all arms.
Admiral Porter is hourtly expected from above. He writes me that all his fleet is below, so that nothing now is wanting but the transports, of which you will hear before this reaches Washington.
A gentleman who has hitherto communicated valuable information is just in from the Yazoo, where he had business with a planter whose name he gives me; the latter was just in from Jackson, Miss., wither he had gone to solicit permission to load a boat with cotton in the Yazoo above the mouth Yalabusha and run it to Yazoo City. At Jackson he saw Governor Pettus, General Pemberton and Van Dorn, who after he saw Governor Pettus, general Pemberton and Van Dorn, who after the abandonment of the Tallahatchie spoke of this general plank of action as to encourage Grant to advance and the great river expedition, of which there was much talk, to pass unopposed to Vicksburg. Then Bragg's army was to amuse Rosecrans near Nashville by feinted attacks, whilst the bulk was to be removed by rail around to there Mobile and Ohio road, to their old ground at Tupelo and Barlowyn; at the same tile Holmes was to remove the bulk of his army to Des, Ark. As soon as Grant and the river expedition passed below these were to close in to the Mississippi above Memphis, near Pillow.
Of course my orders merely mention from General Grant, and I shall heed nothing else, but merely mention this rumor that the general-in-chief may attach as much or as little importance to it as he thinks proper.
I think I observe among the people of this neighborhood an improved public sentiment toward our cause.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,
Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.
HDQRS. RIGHT WING, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, december 19, 1862.
SIR: I estimate we have enough boats to carry our command. We are now embarking and will be all aboard to-morrow. I will go ahead to Helena to-morrow and conclude the arrangements for the garrison at Friar's Point and cavalry force operating to the Tallahatchie. Enough boats have gone forward to carry Steele's command, so that I calculate to leave Helena December 21st, Gaines' Leading 22d, and be at Vicksburg 24th. No final return from Helena, but estimated total 32,000 men. Admiral Porter is here and goes to Henenal to-morrow. He expects all to meet at Milliken's Bend, 25 miles above Vicksburg, on the 24th. Shall at once break railroad west of Vicksburg and then enter the Yazoo. You may calculate on our being at Vicksburg by Christmas. River has risen some feet, and all is now good navigation. Gunboats are to mouth of Yazoo now, and there will be no difficulty in effecting a landing up Yazoo within 12 miles of Vicksburg.
General Gorman proposes to move all his forces from Helena to Napoleon, at mouth of Arkansas. I will see him to-morrow. He says he could then, if called, brig all his men to Vicksburg or act up the Arkansas. Colonel Howe and four companies of regular cavalry have arrived, armed with pistols and sabers. I leave with the garrison hitherto detailed for Memphis. I take Thielemann's cavalry, 70 men; at Helena will make up the necessary cavalry force.