Headquarters HEBERT'S BRIGADE,
July 2, 1863.
GENERAL: In answer to your note of this date giving copy of a note to you from the Lieutenant-general commanding, of yesterday, inquiring into the condition of the troops, and their ability to make the marches and undergo the fatigues necessary to accomplish a successful evacuation-
I respectfully state that, with the permission granted by your note, I have consulted with and obtained the opinions of my most trustworthy and relative officers, confidentially placing before them the question of cutting out. I asked them if their men were physically able to"make the marches and undergo the fatigues necessary. "Without exception all conjured in one single and positive opinion that their men could not fight and march 10 miles in on day; that even without being harassed by the enemy or having to fight, they could not expect their men to march 15 miles the first days; hundreds would break down or straggle off even before the First lines of the enemy were fairly passed. This inability on the part of the soldiers does not arise form want of spirit, or courage, or willingness to fight, but from real physical; disability, occasioned by the men having been so long shut up and cramped up in pits, ditches,&c, in the trenches; many are also in ill-health, who still are able to remain in the works. The unanimous opinion of my officers I viction that, so far as my brigade is concerned, it cannot undergo the marches and fatigues of an evacuation. The spirit of my men to fight is unbroken, but their bodies are worn out. Left to their choice to "surrender" or cut their way out, I have no doubt that a large majority would say cut out. But the question to my mind for me to answer in not between"surrender" and "cutting out", it is are my men able to cut out. My answer is Number I believe, general, the above is an answer to your note, but I may be permitted to state that most of may brigade are Mississippians, who I am confidant will leave the ranks, and throwing away their arms, make their way home the moment we leave our works. So long as they are fighting for Vicksburg they are as true soldiers as the army has, but they will certainly leave us so soon as we worked off than other prisoners of war. If they succeed in getting home, they will not be brought back to the army for months and many not at all, as the homes of many are within Federal lines. I conclude, general, by repeating that I am convinced that my brigade is not in condition to make the marches and undergo the fatigues necessary to a successful evacuation.
And I unhesitatingly state that I could not except to keep together one tenth of my men a distance of 10 miles.
I am, general sincerely yours,
Headquarters HEBERT'S BRIGADE,
July 9, 1863.
Major: I have the honor respectfully to submit the following report: On May 17 hast, I was stationed at Snyder's Mill, on the Yazoo River, in command of the Confederate forces at that point. This position I had occupied since January 2.