HDQRS. EXPEDITIONARY ARMY, Black River, July 4, 1863.
Admiral DAVID D. PORTER, U. S. NAVY:
DEAR ADMIRAL: No event in my life could have given me more personal pride or pleasure than to have met you to-day on the wharf at Vicksburg-a 4th of July so eloquent in events as to need no words or stimulants to elevate its importance.
I can appreciate the intense satisfaction you must feel at lying before the very monster which has defied us with such deep and malignant hate, and seeing your once disunited fleet again a unit; and, better still, the chain that made an inclosed sea of a link in the great river broken forever. In so magnificent a result I stop not to count who did it. It is done, and the day of our nation's birth is consecrated and baptized anew in a victory won by the united Navy and Army of our country. God grant that the harmony and mutual respect that exist between our respective commanders, and shared by all the true men of the joint service, may continue forever, and serve to elevate our national character, threatened with shipwreck. Thus I muse as I sit in my solitary camp out in the woods, far from the point for which we have jointly striven so long and so well, and though personal curiosity would tempt me to go and see the frowning batteries and sunken pits that have defied us so long, and sent to their silent graves so many of our early comrades in the enterprise, I feel that other tasks lie before me and time must not be lost. Without casting anchor, and despite the heat and the dust and the drought, I must again into the bowels of the land, to make the conquest of Vicksburg fulfill all the conditions it should in the progress of this war. Whether success attend my efforts or not, I know that Admiral Porter will ever accord to me the exhibition of a pure and unselfish zeal in the service of our country. It does seem to me that Port Hudson, without facilities for supplies or interior communication, must soon follow the fate of Vicksburg and leave the river free, and to you the task of preventing any more Vicksburg or Port Hudson on the bank of the great inland sea. Though farther apart, the Navy and Army will still act in concert, and I assure you I shall never reach the banks of the river or see will think of Admiral Porter, Captain Breese, and the many elegant and accomplished gentleman it has been my good fortune to meet on armed or unarmed decks of the Mississippi squadron.
Congratulation you and the officers and men of your command at the great result in which you have borne so conspicuous a part, I remain as ever, your friend and servant,
W. T. SHERMAN.
NEAR Vicksburg, July 4, 1863.
Ord and Steele will leave this evening; the former for Big Black River Bridge, the latter for Bridgeport. They will take 150 rounds of ammunition, besides that in cartridge-boxes, and all the rations they can, not less than five days. Your leaving the NINTH Corps as reserve is just right. Inform me the moment you know it will not be required, and I will send it back to Burnside. I have no suggestions or orders to give. I want you to drive Johnston out in your own way, and inflict on the enemy all the punishment you can. I will support you the last man that can be spared.
U. S. GRANT.