and it employs every vessel I have. I have none too many. The light-draught vessels have only half crews. I am making up efficiencies with contrabands as fast as I can. We expect to disembark the troops opposite Vicksburg in four or five days. In the mean time I want to gather up the fleet which are operating at different points with the army. My opinion is that Vicksburg is the main point. When that falls, all subordinate posts will fall with it. Arkansas is, or will be, quiet for the present, and all smaller expeditions should be attached to the large one at Vicksburg. This will enable me to employ the gunboats to better advantage, which I cannot do now. The commander of every post requires a gunboat, but I do not encourage them always in their expectations, as it makes them very careless about defending themselves.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DAVID D. PORTER,
Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.
HEADQUARTERS FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Before Vicksburg, February 4, 1863.
Admiral DAVID D. PORTER, Commanding Mississippi Squadron:
DEAR SIR: I thank you most heartily for your kind and considerate letter, February 3, received this day, and am more obliged than you can understand, as it covers many points I had neglected to guard against. Before Vicksburg, my mind was more intent on the enemy entrenched behind those hills than on the spies and intriguers in my own camp and "at home."
The spirit of anarchy seems deep at work at the North, more alarming than the batteries that shell at us from the opposite shore. I am going to have the correspondent of the New York Herald tried by a court-martial as a spy, not that I want the fellow shot, but because I want to establish the principle that such people cannot attend our armies, in violation of orders, and defy us, publishing their garbled statements and defaming officers who are doing their best. You of the Navy can control all who sail under your flag, shiest we are almost compelled to carry along in our midst a class of men who on Government transports usurp the best state-rooms and accommodations of the boats, pick up the drop conversations of officers, and report their limited and tainted observations as the history of events they nigher see nor comprehend. This should not be, and must not be. We cannot prosper in military operations if we submit to it, and, as some one must begin the attack, I must assume the ungracious task. I shall always account myself fortunate to be near the officers of the old Navy, and would be most happy if I could think it possible the Navy and the Army of our country could ever again enjoy the high tone of honor and honesty that characterized them in the days of our youth.
With sentiments of profound respect for you and the officers of your fleet, I am, truly, yours,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General of Volunteers.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE TENNESSEE, Numbers 13. Young's Point, La., February 19, 1863.
I. Before a general court-martial, which convened at Young's Point, La. February 5, 1863, pursuant to Special Orders, Numbers 34, dated Head-