east. He then broke up and destroyed a section of 3 miles of the track embracing and important culvert.
Having thus driven the enemy forth and ruined the main arteries of travel and communication in the heart of Mississippi, in pursuance of the instructions of General Grant, I dispatched on the 20th General Parke Back to Hayne's Bluff, the point from which ha had started, by way of Brownsville, and on the following day General Od, with the Thirteenth Army Corps, to Vicksburg, by to way of Raymond. I remained two days longer with my own corps(the Fifteenth), to complete the destruction of the railroad piers and to regulate somewhat the disordered and shattered condition of the inhabitants, whose homes had been ruined by war, and whose supplies had been utterly exhausted by the demands of two hostile armies. We shared with them freely our stock of provisions on hand, and, with General Grant's approval, I gave a committee of respectable gentlemen an order for 200 barrels of flour and 100 of pork. The condition of the inhabitants of the interior applies to the humane feelings of all who have beheld the utter ruin and destruction which was befallen their country.
There being no enemy within reach, and no good military reasons for a longer stay and Jackson, I move back quietly to Clinton on the 23rd, when again the utter exhaustion of the provisions of the country compelled me to supply the hospitals of our enemy as well as the country people. We left in charge of a responsible committee a reasonable supply for thirty dais for 500 prisoners. In all such cases I tthat the provisions thus bestowed by our Government should be held sacred for the use of the impoverished inhabitants. Herewith I inclose the bonds and agreements referred to.
On the 24th, we mowed to Champion's Hill, and on the 45th recrossed to the Big Black and went into camp at our present healthy and well chosen positions.
In reviewing the events thus feebly described, it may seem superfluous to cal attention to the fact that great mass of troops thus called on for action were on the 4th day of July in the trenches before Vicksburg, where for nearly two months they had been toiling in a hot sun in close and stifling rifle-pits, and without stopping to indulge for a moment in the natural joy at the great success which had there crowned their labors, they were required again to march in heat and dust for 50 miles, with little or no water, save in muddy creeks in cisterns already exhausted, and in the surface ponds, which the enemy, in his retreat, had tainted with dead cattle and hogs; that we crossed Black River my brigades of our own construction, and then had top deal with an army which had, under a leader of great renown, been formed specially to raise the siege of Vicksburg, far superior to use in cavalry, and but little inferior in either infantry of artillery, that we drove in 50 miles and left him in full retreat; that we have destroyed those great arteries of travel in the State which alone could unable him to assemble troops and molest our possession of the Mississippi River, and that we have so exhausted the land that no army can exist during this season without hauling in wagons all his supplies. This seems to me a fit supplement to the reconquest of the Mississippi River itself, and makes that fact which otherwise would have been imperfect.
The conduct of the troops, so far as fighting is concerned, was all that any commander could ask, and the sagacity and skill displayed in executing the works before Jackson was a fit sequel to the lessons learned before Vicksburg; but there was and is too great a tendency to plunder and pillage, confined to a few men, that reflects discredit on us all.