War of the Rebellion: Serial 038 Page 0019 Chapter XXXVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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and stated that his men had voluntarily cared for the sick, who had been brought out and left on the ground uncared for.

I settled the question, as already mentioned, by giving the huts and necessary space to the surgeon and moving the regiment as far away as was considered proper. With this statement, it remains for you to decide what ought to be done in the premises. The enforcement of your order will be the subversion of my authority at the instance of an inferior, who deserves to be arrested for his indiscretion and spirit of insubordination.

And, having said this much, general, it is proper that I should add one or two other words. I understand that orders are being issued directly from your headquarters directly to army corps commanders, and not through me. As I am invested, by order of the Secretary of War, indorsed by the President, and by order of the President communicated to you by the General-in-Chief, with the command of all the forces operating on the Mississippi River, I claim that all orders affecting the condition or operations of those forces should pass through these headquarters; otherwise I must lose a knowledge of current business and dangerous confusion ensue.

If different views are entertained by you, then the question should be immediately referred to Washington, and one or the other, or both of us, relieved. One thing is certain, two generals cannot command this army, issuing independent and direct orders to subordinate officers, and the public service be promoted.

Your obedient servant,

JOHN A. McClernand.


Before Vicksburg, January 30, 1863.

Major General U. S. GRANT,

Commanding Department of the Tennessee:

GENERAL: I have unofficially learned that two officers of the Engineers, attached to the Department of the Tennessee, are here, but am not advised whether they are under orders to examine and report respecting the practicability of diverting the course of the Mississippi River through the present canal, or any other that may be cut in this vicinity.

I have ordered certain modifications of the present canal, as explained to you yesterday. If they prove unsuccessful, the uselessness of the present canal will have been demonstrated.

I think the engineers referred to might profitably turn their attention in some other direction for a suitable line for a new cut.

From all I can learn, an effective dredging-machine would be equal, nay, superior, to the labor of many thousand men in opening a canal after water has flowed through it. Would it not be advisable to send to Louisville for one or more at once? Time presses, and every practicable effort to make this army available for great results should be tested.

Your obedient servant,

JOHN A. McClernand.

[JANUARY 30, 1863. -For General Grant's order assuming immediate command of the expedition against Vicksburg, see Part I, p. 11.]