their rulers and agitators with bringing ruin and misery on the State. Of course, I make no promises or pledges, but merely state that I believe such a movement would be received with favor.
Since Steele went to Brandon, a perfect stream of negroes has been passing toward Vicksburg.
I am battering down the railroad piers with artillery.
W. T. SHERMAN,
JACKSON, July 21, 1863.
I will stay here another day, and longer, if I can do any good. All
is working admirably. I believe the people will appreciate the liberal gift of provisions. I have been compelled to supply on the spot hospitals' and asylums' immediate pressing wants. Would I be justified in making a distinct proposition to the people that if Johnston or President Davis will agree that no Confederate soldiers or guerrillas will operate WEST of Pearl River, we will establish at Big Black River railroad bridge a kind of trading depot, where the people of Mississippi may exchange their cotton, corn, and produce for provisions, clothing, and family supplies? This would throw on the Confederate Government the necessity of relieving the wants of women and children that are now threatened with starvation and suffering. At Brandon, Canton, and Jackson all act as though the thing was ended unless Lee achieves the capture of Baltimore and Washington, which they are taught to believe; and such men as Sharkey, Yerger, Poindexter, and others of good reputation are actually at work, and appeal for permission to build up a civil government, even the old Union, as they style it.
I profess to know nothing of polities, but I think we have here an admirable wedge which may be encouraged without committing the President or War Department. If prominent men in Mississippi admit the fact of being subdued, it will have a powerful effect all over the South.
All the army, except my own corps, is en route for Vicksburg, and having completed the destruction of the railroads and war material, I only delay here to encourage the people to rebel against a Government which they now feel is unable to protect them or support them. I cannot learn of an enemy within 30 miles of me.
W. T. SHERMAN,
JACKSON, July 22, 1863.
All right about trade. I will not promise or do anything except to relieve the immediate wants of suffering humanity. All well. Will ride around the city to see that all my orders are executed, when I propose to go to Clinton; next day to Bolton; next to Big Black River, and then to report to you in person; after which to establish healthy camps of instruction for my corps.
I want 10,000 conscripts two months, and the Fifteenth Army Corps will be ready for Selma and Atlanta.
Order Major Smith down to help me drill and organize. Also I would like to have a few brigadiers who know how to drill and instruct. I also want authority to consolidate two, three, or even four regiments of the same State into single regiments.