Do you not know that I personally remained in our camp at the bayou till every particle of ordnance wagons, &c., and all the troops but the rear had reached the river?
Do you not know I communicated with General MClernand before leaving the Yazoo? Do you not know that I remained at Yazoo Landing till every transport was off?
Was there any haste or confusion in re-embarking our command other than what is incident to large fleets and masses of men?
Have you not reason to know the enemy did not regard it as a retreat, but advised the people to look out for us in some other quarters?
Do you believe my force, independent of Grant's and Banks', could have taken and held Vicksburg?
Do you not know that the attack on Haines' Bluff was not attempted because Admiral Porter declare it to be too hazardous?
I ask this of you as an officer and a gentleman, because Knox quotes you all through. I do not design if for publication, but purpose to send your answer to my brother, John Sherman, that he may partially protect me from the effect of the base accusations and slanders published to the world and dated on the Continental (Blairs headquarters boats.)
W. T. SHERMAN,
CAMP BEFORE VICKSBURG, February 1, 1863.
Major General WILLIAM T. SHERMAN:
GENERAL: I have this moment received your letter in regard to the statement made by Mr. Knox, correspondent of the New York Herald, in your presence and in the presence of other officers named by you in your letter, and have to request that you will read my answer to the same gentlemen.
It is a matter of mortification to me receive such a letter from you after the conversation which occurred between yourself, Generals Steele and Stuart, and myself, and to which you refer in your letter.
I made no statement to Mr. Knox at any time which would serve as the foundation of his criticism upon you. All the conversation which occurred was in the presence of General Steele and his staff and I recollect of saying nothing which would have wounded your feelings had you been present. I remarked on one or two occasions that I had understood that General Steele advised the first attack to be made on Haines' Bluff, and I thought that, as at this point we should have had the help of the gunboats, it was a great error to go where they could not assist us. I did not make the remark with a view of furnishing a text for criticism upon you, but simply in course of discussions such as often arise under such circumstances.
I will also say candidly that upon the application of Mr. Knox I allowed him to read a copy of my official report of the transactions upon the Yazoo, which had been sent to you through my immediate commander with authority to make use of any statement of facts contained in it.
And now, after the preliminary statement, I proceed, in compliance with your request, to answer your specific questions, and inasmuch as from the tenor of your letter it would that these questions grow out of the attacks made on you, and which for I am quoted as authority, therefore I shall take the liberty, in addition to my general denial of