IN SIGHT OF VICKSBURG, February 1, 1863.
DEAR SIR: On the 20th December last I arrived in Memphis from above and with but two or three hours' delay came to Helena on one of the boats of your expedition. Arriving there I went on board the steamer Continental, which shortly after moved down the stream in the direction of Vicksburg. On the way down I was told that you had direction of Vicksburg. On the way down I was told that you had issued some order relative to civilians accompanying the expedition, but I was unable to learn its substance or procure a copy until after your forces had landed on the banks of the Yazoo.
During the operations on the Yazoo and on Chickasaw Bayou may sources of information were exceedingly limited. I had been informed that an order was in existence requiring my arrest and detention; accordingly I remained very quietly on board the boat where I was staying, going but twice to the battle-field during the entire time. I am now informed by yourself and your adjutant-general that no such order ever existed.
In my account of the battle published in the Herald of the 18th ultimo I gave supposed was the correct history of the affair, depending as I did upon narrow channels of information.
Yesterday I had the opportunity of listening to the reading of many orders, plans, reports connected with those operations. For the first time I have the correct history of the proceedings. I find to my regret that I under repeated errors, and made in consequence several misstatements, which I now take pleasure in correcting.
From listening to and examining your plans and orders concerning those operations I find that nothing could have been more full and complete. I have several times during this war been afforded the use of plans after the termination of the results for which they were designed, and in no instance have I found them so minute in detail and so admirably calculated to cover every contingency as in your own case. I am now satisfied that neither to yourself nor any officer of your command can be attributed the failure to accomplish the object of your expedition.
I find that in my then imperfect knowledge of affairs I did not give proper credit to several officers of your command; among these I may mention Generals Morgan, A. J. Smith, and Burbridge, Colonel De Courcy, and other brigade and regimental commanders. From a perusal of the official reports of the operations on Chickasaw Bayou I learn with pleasure that all these officers did their part promptly, gallantly, and well. Particularly I find this the case concerning General Morgan and the officers under him in the assault of the hill.
In regard to Colonel De Courcy and his brigade, in which were the Sixteenth Ohio and Twenty-second Kentucky Infantry, my published statements are not supported by the facts as I find them in the official reports. From these documents I ascertain that this brigade is deserving especial honor. Even were other proof wanting, the heavy loss of which I was not before aware would be ample testimony to its gallantry.
In conclusion let me say that from recent conversations with officers of this and other portions of General Grant's army, and especially from examination of the maps, plans, orders, and reports of the campaign, I am fully convinced of your prompt, efficient, and judicious management of the troops under your control from its close.
Deeply deploring the existence of the above errors in the history of