to the other shore, and will request him to order a regiment of infantry to Friar's Point, with 2,000 cavalry to operate to the Tallahatchie and communicate with you. I expected this be done before I arrived. Admiral Porter is here and most of his gunboats are below.
I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Colonel John. A. RAWLINS,
HDQRS. RIGHT WING, ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Camp, Millkin's Bend, La., January 3, 1863.
SIR; I have heretofore reported my progress and the organization of the forces places under my command up to the date of their embarkation at Memphis, on December 20, 1862. This was two days later than fixed by your instructions, but was as soon as transports could possibly reach us from Cairo and Saint Louis.
On the 20th I proceeded to Helena and there met General German, commanding officer, and arranged with him for the establishment at Friar's Point of a regiment of infantry and a section of artillery, and a cavalry force of 2,000 men, under General Washburn, to operate from Friar's Point over to the Tallahatchie, and if possible to communicate with General Grant. I also met General Frederick Steele, who was assigned to command the forces detailed to join me at that place. All of these were embarked on the 21st, and by my orders were rendezvous at Friar's Point. my where force there being assembled we proceeded in order, led Admiral Porter in his flag-boats Black Hawk, to Gaines' Landing, and next day to Milliken's Bend.
From taht point I dispatched Burbridge's brigade, of the First Division (a. J. Smith's), to destroy a large section of the Vicksburg and Shreveport Railroad, near the Tenses River. This duty was admirably performed, the roadway destroyed for many miles, and several long pieces of brigade and thistle work burned. General Burbridge found a great deal cotton, corn, and cloth, the property of the Confederate Government, which he burned. Cotton, the property of private individuals, was left undisturbed. For a more particular account of the expedition I refer you to General Burnbridge's report herewith inclosed.
On December 25, without waiting fort the return of Burbridge, I left General A. J. Smith, with the remainder of his division, to follow as soon as that detachment came in. With the other three divisions I proceeded opposite the mouth of the Yazoo, landing on the west bank of the Mississippi, whence I dispatched General Morgan L. Smith, with one of his brigades, to destroy another section of the same road at a point nearer Vicksburg. This work of destruction was also accomplished fully, so that the Vicksburg and Shreveport Railroad, by which vast amounts of supplies reach Vicksburg, is, and much remain for months, useless to our enemy.
On December 25, according to my promise made to general Grant, O had my force at the mouth of the Yazoo. The whole naval squadron of the Mississippi, iron-clads and wooden boats, were also there, Admiral D. D. Porter in command. Conferring with him, and with all positive information gained from every available source, we determined that the best point of debarkation was at a portion on the Yazoo, 12 miles up, on an island formed by the Yazoo and Mississippi Rives and a system of bayous or old channels.