regiments. Strong advance guards will be kept a quarter of a mile to the front of the column, and in wooded places, and where side roads come in or any chance of cover for ambush, flankers will be thrown out to the distance of 150 yards. The column will be kept closed up, and no straggling allowed.
The expedition will move steadily on, and as rapidly as consistent with order, not fatiguing the men, through the most direct route, upon Coldwater Station and Senatobia, and attack at once any force that may be found. 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 horse, it is sure to be taken. In camping, every precaution must be 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 you to inform you officers and men, upon the assurance of Major-General Hurlbut, that one regiment of good infantry is 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. I shall hold the officers rigidly accountable for their men.
J. G. LAUMAN.
HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Smith's Plantation, April 18, 1863.
Major General U. S. GRANT, Comdg. Department of the Tennessee:
GENERAL: I have the honor to call your attention to, and most earnestly urge upon your consideration the very great importance of placing at once below Vicksburg a sufficient number of transports to carry my whole command at once. This corps has now gained a position that will enable us to capture Grand Gulf and co-operate in the reduction of Port Hudson. With these points in our possession, the Mississippi open to New Orders, with the combined efforts of both armies and gunboat fleets, we shall be able to attack Vicksburg in front and rear, and soon it must fall into our hands; and, with its fate, a virtual end will be put to the war in the Southwest, and a hopeful prospect of putting a speedy end to the rebellion. But to use the advantages we have gained in taking our present position, no time must be allowed the enemy to prepare to meet us on the line of our present advance. A short delay here may endanger the certainty of our success, which must attend a rapid forward movement at this time.
The loss of a steamer, in running the blockade, will be nothing in