General M. L. Smith and one from Major [W. T.] Withers, chief of artillery in Vicksburg. They contained no facts of moment except the settled and desperate expedient of the speedy surrender of the place. All these litters agreed in saying that they were on short rations-on quarter pound of bacon daily, with bread of wheat and rice mixed. The deserters who came out yesterday report that surrendering is the topic most discussed. The majority, however, of the troops appear to be for fighting to the last. Several of the letters I have spoken of say that they shall eat their horses and mules before they give up. General Dennis, commanding at Young's Point, has thoroughly picketed the river front of Vicksburg (on the Louisiana side, of course), and began yesterday to keep the people from procuring water from the Mississippi by the fire of his sharpshooters. This he was also able to do to a great extent during the night. The rebels fired their water batteries at him, but up to this morning their shells have done him no damage.
The officers whom General Grant sent over into Louisiana on the 22nd with a flag of truce for General R. Taylor returned this morning. They penetrated as far as Delhi, where they found an inconsiderable body of Taylor's forces, and delivered their dispatches, to which no answer had yet been received. The officers they met denied positively that any of our soldiers or officers, black or white, have been hanged or are likely to be hanged. The white men, however, are held as hostage in some way, and the negroes have been handed over to the State authorities, by whom they will probably been sold. These statements may, of course, be modified by the official reply of Taylor, which is to be forwarded at once. Our officers got the impression that Taylor is at Alexandria. They say that all parties with whom they conversed, citizens and soldiers, manifest great dismay at the idea of our arming negroes, which they suppose must be followed by insurrection with all its horrors. No news from Joe Johnston since my last.
C. A. DANA
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
NEAR Vicksburg, June 27, 1863-9 a. m.,
VIA MEMPHIS, July 1-4 p. m.
(Received July 3-1. 55 p. m.)
Spy from Canton, 25th, arrived at Haynes' Bluff on 26th. Troops, of Joe Johnston (35,000) under marching orders; Joe Johnston personally in command; 10,000 from Bragg, viz, 5,000 from Polk and 5,000 from Hardee's corps, now on their way; will re-enforce Joe Johnston on or before 30th. Never saw so extensive a wagon train as that accumulating at Canton; mules all in good order; artillery very numerous, but of mixed size and characters. Whole body will move to attack Sherman early next week, just as soon as re-enforcements from the east arrive. All are zealous for fight; conscripts numerous in their ranks. They bring corn by rail from the country south of Grenada. I was at Sherman's camp, on Bear Creek, yesterday afternoon, and found his amazing activity and vigilance pervading his whole force. The country is exceedingly favorable for defense, and he has occupied the commanding points; opened rifle-pits wherever they will add to his advantage; obstructed the cross-roads and most of the direct roads also, and ascertained every point where the Big Black can be forded between the line of Benton, on the north, and the line of railroad, on the south. By rapid movements of his forces, also, and by deploying them on all the ridges