and has permitted us to surround him with parapets. A brigade is breaking railroad both ways, and as soon as I know our ammunition train is coming I will send a good brigade and artillery and cavalry to complete the destruction of Canton and Big Black River Bridge; also a cavalry party to Brookhaven, south.
W. T. SHERMAN,
Major General, commanding Army.
Major General U. S. Grant.
Army before Jackson, July 14, 1863.
DEAR GENERAL: Yours of yesterday's date is received, and I avail myself of the opportunity to describe more fully than have hitherto done the operations up to this date, and the present attitude of affairs, that you may give me orders or advice. The first hint of the capitulation of Vicksburg reached me from you, by telegraph, on the 3rd day of July, when I was in person at Trible's place, near Break Creek, with troops disposed from Haynes' Bluff to the Big Black, at the railroad crossing. I immediately concentrated on the three best points for passing Big Black River, viz, at the railroad crossing, at Messinger's Ford, and at Birdsong Ferry. At the two latter points I had constructed bridges, and by the 6th of July the Thirteenth Army Corps (General Ord) had reached the railroad crossing, the Fifteenth Army Corps (General Steele) Messinger's and the NINTH Army Corps (General Parke) Birdsong. All the heads of columns crossed Black River the evening of the 6th, and on the 7th marched to Bolton Depot, each keeping different roads. The weather was so intensely hot that it would have been fatal to push the troops.
During the evening and right of the 7th, all the columns marched opposite Clinton, where we rested and formed the columns for battle, all the evidence being that General Johnston, in strong force, was in our front, determined to resist our entering Jackson.
Early the morning of the 9th, all moved forward in e---Ord on the right, Steele in the center, and Parke on the left. The enemy had cavalry vedettes and small guards to our front, but they retired rapidly before us, and by 9. 30 a. m. of the 9th we drew the artillery fire of the batteries at Jackson.
I soon satisfied myself that General Johnston had taken refuge in Jackson; that he had resolved to fight behind intrenchments, and that his intrenched position was the same substantially that we found last May, only that it had been much strengthened and extended, so that its flanks reached Pearl River.
The works were too good to be assaulted, and orders were given to deploy and form lines of circumvallation about 1,500 yards from the enemy's parapet, with skirmishers close up, and their supports within 500 yards; also that each corps should construct covered batteries for their guns and trenches for their men.
All the troops took up their positions with comparative ease and little loss, save the DIVISION commanded by General Lauman, of Ord's corps, which, by the obscure character of the ground, its trees and bushes, advanced too near the enemy's parapet, without proper skirmishers deployed, and received the cross fire of his artillery and infantry, causing considerable loss of life. The exact extent of this loss has not been reported, but will not fall much short of 400. General Ord has relieved General Lauman of the command of the DIVISION, and I deem it so im-