LA GRANGE, March 16, 1863.
General HURLBUT, Memphis:
Grierson has sent out a column of 500 men.
C. S. HAMILTON.
HDQRS. Fifteenth ARMY CORPS, March 17, 1863.
Brigadier General FRED. STEELE, Comdg. First DIVISION:
GENERAL: The entire infantry force, convalescents excepted, of the SECOND DIVISION, are ordered to march at 7 o'clock this morning, by General Grant direct, and I deem it proper to inform you, as you wish to make some arrangements for picketing. As I construe the order, General Stuart's pickets are relieved.
I am, &c.,
L. M. DAYTON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, Before Vicksburg, March 17, 1863.
Brigadier General B. M. PRENTISS, Comdg. Dist. Eastern Arkansas:
GENERAL: Your course, in doing everything in aid of the Yazoo expedition is fully sustained, and what I wanted and expected. I sent Colonel Parsons, assistant quartermaster, over two weeks ago, for the class of boats required, and sent a quartermaster from here on Friday week to attend to the same thing. As you were not aware of this, however, you did right to send an agent to look after them.
It is too late now to send a greater force through the Pass than has already gone and will be made up with Smith's DIVISION.
My intention was, and is, that Ross shall return to Helena, and Hovey take the field with his DIVISION. Such instructions have been given General McPherson, who I intended should command that expedition. Now that I have been so much disappointed in getting transports of the right class, no more troops will go by that route than what is indicated above. I will make the transfer of Ross' and Hovey's forces as soon as practicable.
The necessity of a large force descending the Yazoo, I think, has ended by the discovery of a route into the Yazoo from here by the way of Steele's Bayou an other cross bayous. Five gunboats are now on their way (four of them iron-clads) by this route. If successful, this will entirely hem in at least the transports of
the enemy, and force them to surrender or retreat eastward.
My orders in regard to trade prohibit it below Helena. Trade having been opened by the Treasury Department to Helena, I did not interfere with it further than to prohibit the landing of boats at any point on the Mississippi River other than at places occupied by troops or under protection of a gunboat. As a corollary to this, all freight ascending the river is contraband, unless it has a provost-marshal's permit from some point not lower down than Helena; and if taken on where no forces are stationed, then Treasury permits and the statement of the commander of the gunboat affording protection whilst such freight was being loaded that he had afforded such protection.
You may make such local restrictions to trade as you may think healthful, and keep out and restrict passing through your lines as much