HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE Mississippi,
Near Vicksburg, January 24, 1863.
General WILLIAM T. SHERMAN,
Fifteenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: The general commanding directs me to say that your operations on the canal, and preparations for the protection of your lines, and blockading the river below Vicksburg, are highly approved. The threatened inundation demands energetic measures, which have been ordered to be taken for the repair of the crevasse above these headquarters. Examinations have been made to-day, and will be continued to-morrow, for this purpose, and heavy details will be put to work in the morning, and it is hoped that everything will be secure by to-morrow night. In addition to this, he intends to retain the transports until all danger of inundation is passed. To-morrow they will be engaged in procuring wood. He has already issued orders to Major Livingston to make stick searches for cotton, arms, and other public property, and to allow no one to go up without a proper pass. Still, he suggests that deserters may elude these searchers, and it is necessary that all commanders exercise the utmost vigilance and strictness in keeping their men within their own military lines. It would be well for each to know that his men are within his command at the time boats leave. It is highly essential to put and keep the roads in good repair so as to enable you to move the heavy artillery, should circumstances require you to get it back on the transports. General McArthur will send a detail of 1,000 men in the morning to work on the canal near the mouth, where he has permission to change its channel for 200 or 300 yards. He is directed to sink frequent pits through the clay in order to facilitate its washing. He advised Mrs. Gaines to go up the river on a transport, and he thinks she will consent to do so. Her affliction and trouble demand the sympathy of those who can afford her protection, and the general feels that it is her due, not only on account of her distress and helplessness, but on account of her loyalty to the Government under trying circumstances.
I have the honor, general, to be, your most obedient servant,
WALTER B. SCATES,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS Fifteenth ARMY CORPS,
Camp, January 24, 1863.
Comdg. Mississippi Expedition:
SIR: I have just ridden my line. General Stuart's DIVISION occupies the line of the canal, and is at work widening the canal 9 feet and throwing up the earth on this side, to make a parapet and to prevent an overflow. They are also shoveling down the earth on the other side of the canal, so, if it fills, it will overflow the other side first. About 2 same as the main river. With our tools, we cannot attempt much more. I have two 20-pounder rifles on the left flank and Barrett's battery of 6-pounders, and on the right flank one 30 pounder rifle, two 20-pounder rifles, and four 6-pounders smooth-bore, with orders that if a steamboat attempt to pass to bring her to or destroy her. Several passed yesterday, and though I moved the guns in the night and masked them with bushes, the enemy has doubtless discovered our preparation, and no boats have moved from Vicksburg to-day.