reach the front by to-morrow morning. The colonel tells me that he has just come back from a raid down the river on that side to within 20 miles of Natchez; that he has taken 100 prisoners, mainly of Harrison's cavalry, and brought back large numbers of mules and horses. General Grant intends to lose no time in pushing his army toward the Big Black Bridge and Jackson, threatening both and striking at either, as is most convenient. As soon as Sherman comes up and the rations on the way arrive, he will disregard his base and depend on the country for meat and even for bread. Beef-cattle and corn are both abundant everywhere.
The enemy is not suffering for want it the least; the prisoners captured are also well clothed and provided with blankets. Their arms and their stores are both good. General Grant is of the opinion that Pemberton will endeavor to bring on the decisive battle within the next ten days.
C. A. DANA.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
WAR DEPARTMENT, May 5, 1863.
C. A. DANA,
Smith's Plantation, or Grant's Headquarters, via Memphis:
General Grant has full and absolute authority to enforce his own commands, and to remove any person who, by ignorance, inaction, or any cause, interferes with of delays his operations. He has the full confidence of the Government, is expected to enforce his authority, and will be firmly and heartily supported; but he will be responsible for any failure to exert his powers. You may communicate this to him.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
HANKINSON'S FERRY, May 5, 1863-10 a. m.,
VIA MEMPHIS, TENN., May 18-11 a. m.
Enemy had built a bridge of flat-boats across the Big Black at this point. Logan pressed upon them so hard in his pursuit that they were not able to destroy it. It is reported by our pickets that they have two brigades in our front on the other shore, and McPherson is going over this morning with a competent force to stir them up. But for the exceeding incompetency of General McClernand, and the delay thence arising, the movement from Bruinsburg in this direction must have resulted in the capture of 5,000 instead of about 700 rebels. A tug with barges ran the Vicksburg batteries on Sunday night, the 3rd instant. The hay with which the loading of the barges was covered was set on fire, and the hard bread beneath was considerably damaged by water in putting it out, by yesterday 200 wagons loaded with rations arrived from Milliken's Bend at Perkins' plantation. As soon as these supplies reach here and Sherman's troops arrive, the general advance up this peninsula will be resumed. Sherman himself was at Grand Gulf yesterday, and two of his DIVISIONS will debark there to-day. The army here is distributed across the peninsula, guarding every point. General McClernand is on the right center; McPherson here on the left. A reconnaissance pushed as far as Rocky Springs and in the vicinity of the ferry on the Vicksburg road discovers no enemy. Please notice that in my dispatch