Since the disembarkation of the troops on the Yazoo Bottom, near Haynes' Bluff, sickness has prevailed among them to an alarming extent. If the new troops here could be replaced by older ones, it would be better in all respects.
The weather continues rainy. It has rained more or less every day for several days in succession. The rain has been occasionally accompanied by winds, chiefly from the south.
Your obedient servant,
JOHN A. McClernand.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE Mississippi,
Near Vicksburg, January 26, 1863.
His Excellency RICHARD YATES,
Governor of Illinois:
SIR: It being highly important that I should become thoroughly acquainted with the topography of the country for many miles around this camp, and the positions occupied by the enemy on the same side of the river, before all the troops in my command had disembarked, Colonel Warren Stewart volunteered to reconnoiter accordingly and bring in the desired information.
He started on the 22nd instant with a small cavalry command, and on the following day we received the news that he had fallen in a skirmish with a detachment of the enemy, strongly intrenched by a levee, surmounted by a fence, near New Carthage, on the WEST bank of the Mississippi, and some 30 miles below Vicksburg. His force, consisting of cavalry only, and not more than 200 men, finding it impracticable to dislodge the enemy, superior in numbers, was compelled to retire from that spot. Being the last to leave the advanced position his command had made, he was shot through the body. He kept his saddle some minutes before he fell. Surviving two hours, he only articulated these imperfect sentences, "Tell General McClernand," "General McClernand; " and to the inquiry what he wanted, answered, "Bury me decently. " None other of his command fell. So died a hero and a patriot, a man cool and wise in counsel, and devoid of all consciousness of personal danger in battle.
Colonel Stewart was one of the first men in the Northwest to respond to the call for volunteers, raising a cavalry company under authority from General Fremont. He was in all the skirmishes in Southeastern Missouri previous to the battle of Fredericktown, and bore a conspicuous part in gaining that battle. He was with me during my armed reconnaissance of the enemy's position and works at Columbus, Ky., one year ago this month, which was the first approach made to that stronghold of the enemy. Leading the cavalry isance, with his brave comrade in arms, Lieutenant-Colonel McCullough, of the same State, he advanced upon the enemy's lines and captured several pickets. He led the advance guard in the assault upon Fort Henry, and was the first man no enter the enemy's works. He was engaged in the battle of Fort Donelson, and was a prominent actor in many of the scenes that transpired during the four days of its continuance. He was also with me on the battle-field of Shiloh, where he challenged the wondering and enthusiastic admiration of my DIVISION by his ceaseless activity and fearless daring. It was there that, away in advance of my line, he received a severe wound in the head, which, together with the consequent fall from his horse, seriously endangered his life. Before he had entirely recovered from that wound, so as to ride with perfect safety, he rejoined