Helena, has been received; also another letter of the same date addressed to the commanding officer of the United States cavalry forces at Friar's point, Miss.
the expedition which left this point under the command of Brigadier-General Hovey, and which moved in the direction of Grenada, Miss., has returned and his forces are now on this side of the river. As the General-in-Chief evidently intended these troops to be used in co-operation with others in the capture of Vicksburg I will return them and out of them garrison Friar's Point, as indicated by you.
You ask General Steele's opinion as to the best point to land troops below here with a view of attacking Vicksburg. General Steele says that the troops should be landed at the lower end of Milliken's Bend, opposite an island called My Wife's Island, say 2 or 3 miles above the Yazoo River. From that point operations could be directed as may be hereafter indicated by yourself and General Sherman. The above point is about 25 miles by water above Vicksburg and some less by land.
I inclose* the reply of Naval Officers Gwin to your inquiry as to the present position of our gunboats between this and Vicksburg, from which you will perceive there are six iron-clads, four light-draught wooden boats, and two rams.
The enemy have a battery on the Yazoo about 15 miles from the month of that river and about 12 miles by land from Vicksburg.
I have only about 12,000 infantry for duty, and about 4,700 cavalry and five efficient batteries.
You can rely upon 5,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry, and two batteries to accompany General Sherman, which is a little more than the force sent in the Hovey expedition; but if when I meet General Sherman he desires me to send the whole force, except enough to garrison this post, as I may not have time to communicate with General Curtis, I will take the responsibility of sending all.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. A. GORMAN,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Eastern District of Arkansas.
HDQRS, RIGHT WING, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, December 13, 1862.
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
SIR: When at Oxford, Miss., on Tuesday last, I saw a telegram from General Halleck to the effect that General Grant should retain the troops of your department which had moved on Grenada. The supposition was that this force was 12,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry, and a due proportion of artillery. I learn that only 5,000 infantry composed that expedition. I am ordered against Vicksburg with a force composed of certain troops here and those from Helena, 12,000. Now, if that force be reduced to 5,000 my strength will be inadequate. Will you not order 12,000 infantry from Helena to act with me, and if not wanted for any other purpose they cannot be better employed. I am not ambitious of the command, but Grant's movements in interior depend on this. Send dispatch to Helena via commanding officer Columbus, Ky., who will forward with dispatch.
W. T. SHERMAN,
* Not found.