HDQRS. RIGHT WING, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Steamer Forest Queen, December 23, 1862.
With this I hand to each of you a copy of a compiled from the best sources and which in the main is correct.* It is the same used by Admiral Porter and myself.
Complete military success can only be accomplished by an united action on some general plan embracing usually a large district country.
In the present instance our object is to secure the navigation of the Mississippi River and its main branches, and to hold that as military channels of communication and for commercial purposes. The river above Vicksburg has been gained by conquering the country to its rear, rendering its possession by our enemy useless and unsafe to him, and is of great value to us; but the enemy still holds the river from Vicksburg to Baton Rouge, navigating it with his boats, and the possession of it enables him to connect him communication and routes of supply east and west.
To deprive him of this will be a severe blow, and if done effectually of great value to us and probably the most decisive act of this was. To accomplish this important result we are act our part, an important one, of the great whole.
General Banks with a large force has re-enforced General Butler in Louisiana, and from that quarter an expedition by water and land is coming northward. General Grant, with the Thirteenth Army Corps, of which we compose the right wing, is moving southward. The naval squadron, Admiral Porter, is operating with his feed=t by water, each in perfect harmony with the other.
General Grant's left and center were at last accounts approaching the Yalabusha (near Grenada), and the railroad to his rear, by which he drew his supplies, was reported to be seriously damaged. This may disconcert him somewhat, but only makes more important our line of operations.
At the Yalabusha General Grant may encounter the army of General Pemberton, which was strongly fortified; but as he will not have time to fortify the Yalabusha he will hardy stand there, and in that event General Grant will immediately advance down the high ridge lying between the Big Black and Yazoo, and will expect to meet us on the Yazoo and receive from the supplies which he needs and which he knows we carry along. Parts of his general plan to co-operate with the naval squadron in the reduction of Vicksburg, to secure possession of the land lying between the Yazoo and the Black, and to act in concert with General Grant Against Pemberton's forces, supposed to have Jackson, Miss., as a point of concentration.
Vouches is doubtless very strongly fortified both against the river and land approaches. Already the gunboats have secured the Yazoo up for 23 miles to a fort on the Yazoo at Haines' Bluff, giving us a choice for a landing place at some point up the Yazoo below this fort, or on the island which lies between Vicksburg and present mount of the Yazoo. See map (B, C, D.)
But before any actual collision with the enemy I purpose, after assembling our whole land force at Gaines' landing, Ark., to proceed in order to Milliken's Bend (A) and there ditch a brigade without wagons or any encumbrances whatever to the Vicksburg and Shreveport Railroad (at H and K) to destroy that effectually and cut off that fruitful
* Not found, but see p. 611.