the reports by you are wild and extravagant. At Corinth we are in communication with the gunboats. No such force as you report can have crossed the Tennessee at the time you mention. No such force could be withdrawn from Bragg. Cornyn's cavalry (Tenth Missouri) have been in Jackson; were there on Thursday, and heard nothing of any such force. We have heard of three regiments and a battery at Double Island, seeking to cross, and have driven back across the river marauding force of cavalry, over to pick up cattle for Bragg, and hear of squads impressing and conscripting. Bragg's entire cavalry force does not exceed 15,000 men. On all these grounds, I am satisfied that the force behind you is heavily overestimated.
I particularly wish that you should exercise extreme care in the dispatches you forward to General Halleck. Nothing is more serious offense with him than exaggerated official reports. Our force is now so limited in all parts of my command, and so much threatened at all points, that it will be difficult to give re-enforcements. I have had 1,900 cavalry below the Tallahatchee, destroying railroad and supplies. They are expected at La Grange to-day. As soon as they recruit, I shall start a force toward Jackson, and thence to the Obion, and clean up the country.
An unfortunate affair, by which I have lost some 100 cavalry, occurred on Friday near Hernando. Major Henry allowed himself to be surprised and surrounded in camp, and his whole command was stampeded. This is floating report from stragglers who have come in. It may do the officer injustice, but it is evident that gross carelessness prevailed. The morale of the affair is very bad. I can only recommend you to use every caution that prudence and experience dictate, and to hold your command prepared for any emergency that may occur. So far as the pressure elsewhere will permit, you will be supported from this line.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT.
NEAR Vicksburg, MISS., June 21, 1863.
Admiral DAVID D. PORTER, Comdg. Mississippi Squadron:
ADMIRAL: Information received from Vicksburg last night confirms your theory of the probable method Pemberton will take for escaping in the last extremity. One of our pickets and one of the enemy, by mutual consent, laid down their arms, met half way, and had a long conversation. The rebel said that our cannonading killed and wounded a great many in the rifle-pits; otherwise did no great damage. They fully counted upon an assault as being intended and were prepared for it. Finding that no assault was made, the feelings of the troops were canvassed to see if they could be got out to attack the Yankees. They not only declined this, but those on the right (our left) almost mutinied because their officers would not surrender. They were only reassured and persuaded to continue on duty by being told that they had provisions enough on hand to last seven days. In that time they would have two thousand boats finished, and they could make their escape by the river. The rebel said they were tearing down houses to get the materials out of which to build boats.
I will direct General Mower to keep a strong picket in the river in front of Vicksburg at night; to place his battery behind the levees or hold it in some good position, to be used if an attempt should be made