War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0090 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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say the rebel lines are about 5 1/2 miles long, containing from thirty-three to thirty-five forts connected by rifle-pits. The garrison we now believe consists of 20,000 to 25,000 men; their hospitals crowded.

C. A. DANA.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

BEHIND Vicksburg, May 28, 1863,

VIA MEMPHIS, May 30-9 p. m. (Received June 1-3. 15 a. M.)

The siege works progress satisfactorily. Sherman has his parallels completed to within 80 yards of the rebel fortifications. He is able to carry artillery and wagons with horses under cover to that point. McPherson's rifle-pits are at about the same distance from the forts in his front. On both these lines our sharpshooters keep the rebels under cover and never allow them to load a cannon. It is a mistake to say that the place is entirely invested. I made the complete circuit of the lines yesterday. The left is open in direction of Warrenton, so that the enemy have no difficulty in sending messengers in and out. Our force is not large enough to occupy the whole line and keep the necessary reserves and outposts at dangerous and important points; still, the enemy cannot either escape by that route or receive supplies.

An officer who returned yesterday from a visit to Jackson with a flag of truce to take supplies to our wounded, found Loring there with his force, apparently reorganizing and ready for movement. The number he could not ascertain, but thought it was 5,000 at least. Loring, you may remember, escaped to the southeast with his DIVISION after the battle of Baker's Creek.

The gunboat Cincinnati was disabled yesterday in a sharp engagement with the enemy's upper water battery, on Steele's front. She was compelled by discharges of grape to close her bow port-holes, and in endeavoring to get away, swung her stern around toward the battery, when she was so badly hit that her commander rad her ashore, and she sank in shoal water. Some twenty-odd lives were lost. She may be raised and saved.

The weather is hot, but not at all oppressive.

C. A. DANA.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

BEHIND Vicksburg, May 30, 1863-9 a. m.,

VIA MEMPHIS, June 3-9 p. m. (Received June 4-3. 35 a. M.)

We have from Blair reports, which come to him on his march, that Joe Johnston is at Canton with a force of 45,000 men, said to consist of W. H. T. Walker's DIVISION, being DIVISION which escaped in disorder from the battle of Baker's Creek; 2,000 stragglers from other troops engaged in that battle, three DIVISIONS from Bragg's army, and a body from Mobile. These reports are undoubtedly exaggerated, but that Johnston is there, doing his best to collect and bring [forces] for the relief of Vicksburg, there is no question. General Grant has ordered Blair to return to Haynes' Bluff, without further exposing himself, but to devastate the country as he returns. All the roads from the Big Black hither, except the main one from the railroad bridge (where Osterhaus