one of the gunboats accompanying the expedition being sunk by the explosion of a torpedo, I shall have to leave them there until the armament and machinery of the vessel can be got way. I have also sent a brigade to Natchez, to collect a large number of Texas cattle supposed to be there, destined for Johnston's army. This, you will see, leaves me no force to move with, until Sherman returns. When this will be it is hard to tell. Johnston commenced to fall back from the Big Black the moment he heard of the surrender of Vicksburg. As all his droves of cattle and wagon trains that fell back, via Canton, were ordered east to the Mobile and Ohio road, he could not have intended to make a determined stand. he drew all his troops, however, inside the intrenchments of Jackson, and remains there yet. Sherman has him closely invested, for the Pearl River ont he north to the river on the south. By this an immense deal of rolling stock has been separated from the Confederacy, both north and south of Jackson, and the roads so completely destroyed as to render them forever useless. How long this siege will last it is impossible to say. When Johnston is driven from his position, however, I will have troops available for anything that will go to put down the rebellion. I suppose the Ninth Army Corps will have to be sent back to Burnside, and 10,000 to 12,000 effective men sent to Banks. but for the expedition you speak of, unless other orders should come from Washington, I will still have force enough.
Kirby Smith has been hovering around on the opposite side of the river, with his headquarters at Monroe, and his force scattered from Saint Joseph to Floyd. It has been my intention to pay him a call as soon as possible; but I now learn, and I believe reliably, that all his scattered forces are called in, and the whole are moving to Shreveport, la. The object of the move I don't see, unless it is to avoid being hurt.
I have not paid any special attention to the geography of the opposite side of the river, but suppose at this season of the year White River would have to be used as a base for supplies to reach Little Rock. The Arkansas can hardly be used until the fall rains set in.
You will see, from the foregoing statements, that I can give you nothing definite of future operations yet. As soon as I possibly can I will do so. Nothing like 500 wagons will be required with this army to prepare it for any move, and, should any be required, it would probably be only the wagons and harness, without the animals.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,
[Inclosure Numbers 4.] HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI, Saint Louis, Mo., July 15, 1863.
COMMANDING GENERAL, Helena, Ark.:
GENERAL: I am informed by the General-in-Chief that you have been ordered to move against Price, who is reported to be somewhere between the Saint Francis and White River. I have sent a cavalry division, about 5,000 strong, under General Davidson, to co-operate with you.* He will move from Bloomfield, Mo., on the 17th instant. Will march down Crowley's Ridge, and endeavor to cut off Price's retreat across White River. He will carry supplies to last him until he can communicate with you at Helena or some other point. If you could send supplies for General Davidson's command by boat up the Saint Francis
*See Ross to Grant, July 18, Part II, p. 381, and Ross to Schofield, July 22, Part II, p. 387.