War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0532 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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The mode prescribed by the War Department is wrong, as it would leave us with little battalions, whereas we want to concentrate the materials in our possession into sample regiments and brigades. My men are now well rested; have bathed freely in Pearl River. The people are moving from the terror of the cannonade, and we can draw behind Big Black River with propriety. I still think I would be imprudent to hold Jackson; it is not a strategic point not that its railroads are utterly ruined demolished, and were my corps to remain here it could do no good, whereas a few guerrillas could constantly attack our trains and keep us uneasy all time. At Big Black River we can draw our lines, exclude everybody, and conceal our strength, plans, and purposes, and, when you give the word.

I can in a day recover Jackson, or, what amounts to the same thing, a good crossing over Pearl River.

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General.

General GRANT.

HEADQUARTERS Fifteenth ARMY CORPS,

Vicksburg, July 26, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to report the arrival of army corps at Big Black River. I have ordered the DIVISIONS to be disposed as follows: Steele's as railroad bridge; Ewing's, late W. S. Smith's, at Messinger's; Tuttle's at Bear Creek, near Fox's, and will extend the wires heretofore constructed so as to place men in telegraphic communication with Vicksburg, Hayne's Bluff, and the railroad bridge. The points I have selected off camps are believed to be healthy, near good water for washing and bathing; are selected to cover the bridges across the Big Black, and are within one-day's march of Vicksburg. Having come into Vicksburg for a personal interview with the General-in-chief, I will return this afternoon to my post, and remain with my command, ready for any orders or to labor in improving the organization and instruction of my corps.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General, commanding.

Lieutenant Colonel John A. RAWLINS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS Fifteenth ARMY CORPS,

Camp on Big Black, July 28, 1863.

SIR: I have the heretofore, from day to day, kept the general advised of the progress of events, even to the conclusion of the champaign; but, that a connected history may be preserved, I will offer a mere a narrative of events, beginning with the 22nd, day of June, when I was operating with my corps(the Fifteenth)against the north front of Vicksburg. General Steele's DIVISION(first)was threatening enemy's extreme left known as Fort Hill, resting of the Mississippi River above Vicksburg, and General Blair's DIVISION(SECOND)was operating against the bastion which guarded against our approach on the Graveyard road. Our batteries were well advanced and covered with good earth-