HEADQUARTERS FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
On board Forest Queen, January 17, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel WALTER B. SCATES,
SIR: Pursuant to your orders, this 4 p. m. I went in person to direct the extinguishment of the fire in Napoleon. It was impossible to extinguish it. I first tried to limit it to the middle of the block but failed, but by the destruction of a store and barn at the end of the block limited the fire to one block.
It is impossible to find out the incendiary; not a clue can now be found. In some future time the actor will boast of it, when it can be fixed on him. In the mean time the only way to apply a remedy will be to assess the damages upon the whole army, officers included. No man in the army has labored harder than I have to check harder than I have to check this spirit in our soldiers, and am free to admit we all deserve to killed unless we can produce a state of discipline when such disgraced acts cannot be committed unpunished.
In consequence of the order to start at 12 m. I had allied in my provost guard and pickets, and most of my boats are below gathering wood, but I have ordered a guard to patrol the town.
I am, with respect, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General, Commanding Corps.
GENERAL ORDERS, HDQRS, ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Numbers 11. Steamer Tigress, January 17, 1863.
I. The entire fleet will be in readiness to start from Napoleon by 12 o'clock m. to-morrow, January 18, and will not land until arrival at Milliken's Bend, except for necessary fuel or other imperative cause.
II. Each transport of the fleet will, by the hour named, provide itself with sufficient fuel to run in to Milliken's Bend.
III. If transports cannot get sufficient fuel at or near Napoleon they may drop down the river by divisions to any point not exceeding 25 miles from that place, but every boat will be in readiness to fall into line in its assigned place immediately on the passing of the flag boat Tigress.
IV. Officers in command of troops on each transportation will promptly furnish details and give all required assistance in procuring fuel.
V. The fleet will move conformably to the inclosed order.
VI. Divisions must be kept together and transports must be kept in their assigned places unless prevented by imperative necessity, and in no case pass the transports bearing their divisions or corps commanders.
VII. In case any transport is disabled or requires assistance, on blowing the whistle five times, the transports nearest in line following will go to its assistance and take in tow, if necessary until other orders are issued by the division commanders.
VIII. Upon starting, one gun will be fired from the flag-boat Tigress and will be promptly responded to by one gun from each boat bearing a division commander, when all will at once fall into line.
IX. Corps, division, and brigade commanders will be held responsible from a strict compliance with this order.
By command of Major General John A. McClernand, commanding.
Major and Acting, Assistant Adjutant-General.