General Smith's expedition, 1,500 strong, leaves La Grange on Friday, to get in their rear. If you hear their guns, or they hear yours, you will push for a junction. Should Chalmers hold his ground, observe the position of his battery, and push skirmishers, under any cover, with special orders to kill the horses. If the battery is crippled in horses, it is sure to be taken. In camping, every precaution must be taken against a night attack, and the entire command must be under arms at 3 a. m.
If Chalmers abandons the Coldwater line, follow him steadily toward Panola, and push the cavalry out to communicate with Smith's force between Panola and Senatobia. They are ordered to turn toward this force on their return. If any force should have been sent up from below to Chalmers, which I do not expect, the two expeditions united are more than a match for them.
I wish Colonel Bryant to inform his officers and men that one regiment of good infantry is, in my judgment, competent to meet all the cavalry north of Vicksburg.
You will strictly forbid plundering of houses, stores, churches, or other buildings. You will cause forage to be taken; horses, wherever found in Mississippi, and transportation, if needed. All arms capable of service will be taken, but no violence to peaceable people.
The object of the expedition should be accomplished in two days.
On the return, the usual precautions will be taken; strong rear guards maintained, and a detachment of cavalry kept well to the rear.
I expect this movement to be executed with good discipline, and shall hold the officers rigidly accountable for their men.
I am, general, truly yours,
S. A. HURLBUT.
HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS, In the Field, near New Carthage, La., April 17, 1863.
Major General U. S. GRANT:
GENERAL: At 7 o'clock this morning the wreck of the steamer Henry Clay was seen floating past New Carthage, on fire. At the same time three barges were seen passing. Without any other than small craft, I sent these into the stream, and succeeded in bringing to shore two of the largest, one partially laden with coal, the other lade with camp equipage, which had been put on board at Milliken's Bend on the 15th instant. The THIRD barge, laden with coal, passed on, but was scuttled, it being out of my power to bring her in. Besides these, a number of sacks of grain, bales of hay, &c., were brought to.
About 12 m., eight gunboats, which had also run the blockade at Vicksburg, came to. Boarding the first arrival, I notified the commander, Captain Hoel, that there was a rebel camp at Perkins' plantation, about 5 miles below Carthage, and requested him to push forward and shell it, while a detachment of my forces should pursue the fleeing enemy. He referred me to Rear-Admiral Porter, who, he said, would soon arrive in the gunboat Benton.
Soon after, Rear-Admiral Porter arrived on the Benton. I immediately called on him, and, requesting him to do so, he sent forward the gunboat Tuscumbia to shell the hostile camp, which was done. In the mean time General Osterhaus sent forward a detachment of the NINTH DIVISION to pursue and harass the enemy, but with what effect has not yet been reported. I also informed the admiral that a vessel, supposed to be a