At a very early period I took ground that such men were spies. Take this case of Knox. He published in New York the first account of our attempt on Vicksburg, and now to my face tells me if he (Knox) cannot get at the truth he must publish falsehood. In other words, a commander, in addition to his already manifold labors, must unfold to every correspondent (for a distinction would surely be unfair) his orders, plans, and the developments. Knox has published his article as coming from a division headquarters. This publication is now in Vicksburg, and its commander can tell within 1,000 men our present force; but worse yet for cause-Van Dorn now is at Holly Springs en route northward, knows our force and the chances of Vicksburg are against us, and in full confidence goes on his work regaining ground we have fought for several times. I do know that the day will come when every officer will demand the execution of this class of spies; and without further hesitation I declare that if I forced to look to the New York Herald as my law and master instead of the constituted authorities of the United States my military career is at an end.
If it be so that the people of the United States demand and must have news, true, if possible, but still news, their, condition is likened to that of the drunkard, whose natural tastes have become so vitiated that nought but blandly satisfy, them and they must pay the penalty. I for one am willing no longer to tamely bear their misrepresentations and infamies, and shall treat Knox and all others of his type as spies and defamers.
I am, with respect, your friend,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Near Vicksburg, February 3, 1863.
Brigadier General F. P. BLAIR:
DEAR SIR: As it now proper I will explain to you certain things which I think you ought to know to enable you to understand the history of recent events in connection with the attack on Vicksburg.
General Steele never reported to me his belief that Haines' Bluff was the true point of attack first to be made. He wrote to General Grant to that effect from Helena by Colonel Grierson, who crossed over to General Grant at Oxford after I had taken my departure; but I know it was the general conviction of all military men who studied the maps that an attack on Vicksburg should be made way of the Yazoo, landing at the first bluff or hard land above its month. This was usually styled Haines' Bluff, but in fact the first high ground touches the Yazoo 2 or 3 miles lower down, at Snyder's house, and is now known as Drumgould's Bluff, the same on which the enemy had made his fortifications. I also was of the same impression, and the moment our fleet reached the month of Yazoo I repaired on board the flag-ship and there met Captain Gwin and many most intelligent navy officers, who had been repeatedly up the Yazoo last summer, fall, and winter, up to the hour of our arrival. They described Drumgould's Bluff as very strongly fortified; that not only were heavy guns there in position, but earth forts and rifle-pits and a strong force of infantry camped immediately behind, at Milldale. The Yazoo, also, was obstructed by a raft, and few 3 miles below by a system of torpedoes, one of which had exploded and sunk the Cairo. Even the gunboats could not approach Snyder's Bluff, much less our frail transports. All agreed that a landing of the troops must