I afterward went to Coaker's Ferry. There I found things quite different; the enemy busy. I saw four or five army wagons passing about, and appeared to be hauling cotton and other materials; whether to build fortifications or a bridge, I do not know. The latter, however, was the conclusion I arrived at, for the following reasons:
1. There is a high bluff, extending for about 2 miles, completely commanding the horseshoe neck leading to the ferry from this side.
2. It is easier for the enemy to cover their crossing at that point than at any other, in the event of their retreat, which is inevitable. Hence I infer that this will be their principal crossing, with Bridgeport and Messinger's as auxiliaries, especially the latter ford for their cavalry and infantry. I would like with your permission to fortify the hill overlooking Messinger's, and advance a regiment to that point with a section of artillery. The river takes more of a bend at Coaker's Ferry than is laid down on our maps. I inclose a little sketch of the bend. * I have ordered the scout as you direct down the river from Messinger's, and will send you their report.
Your most obedient servant,
HDQRS. Fifteenth ARMY CORPS, Numbers 50.
Walnut Hills, MISS., July 3, 1863.
The troops of this corps will be prepared to march on short notice, with ten days' rations of flour and hard bread, coffee, salt, and sugar.
All transportation will be put in order and held in readiness for movement.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
R. M. SAWYER,
BEFORE Vicksburg, July 3, 1863.
Major General John A. LOGAN, Comdg. THIRD DIVISION:
General Pemberton has sent out, under flag of truce, to Major-General Grant, proposing an armistice, and the appointment of commissioners to arrange terms of capitulation. The general has replied that he expects an unconditional surrender, the garrison to be treated as prisoners of war. While waiting General Pemberton's answer there is, of course, no cessation of hostilities, and your forces, artillery and infantry, will be kept at their usual posts, firing at the enemy, as has been the practice, when anything is seen to fire at.
As it is very probable we will take possession of the place this afternoon, have the men who are in camp clean up and put their arms, clothes, &c., in good trim, so as to present a good soldierly appearance when we march in.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON.
P. S. -The men should be kept in camp, except those on duty, and well in hand, ready for any emergency.
*See p. 465.