return to the ship, express to you my thanks for the good service they have rendered and the admirable and officer like manner in which they were handled by Acting Master Reed. His battery (which I have named after your ship-Battery Benton) has been our main support in advancing and I learn has been a terror to the rebels in our immediate front.
The management and conduct of Acting Master Reed and his subordinates (William Moore and W. P. Brownell) cannot be too highly spoken of, and I can assure you they have nobly sustained the reputation of your ship and the Mississippi squadron. Acting Master Reed is well worthy of promotion.
Congratulating you, captain, on the combined successes of the Army and Navy in reducing this Sebastopol of the rebels, I remain, very truly, yours,
F. J. HERRON.
Vicksburg, July 5, 1863.
Admiral DAVID D. PORTER, Comdg. Mississippi Squadron:
ADMIRAL: While congratulating you on the success of the Army and Navy in reducing the Sebastopol of rebeldom, I must at the same time thank you for the aid my DIVISION has had from yourself and your ships. The guns received from the Benton, under charge of Acting Master Reed, a gallant and efficient officer, have formed the most effective battery, I had, and I am glad to say that the officer in charge has well sustained the reputation of your squadron. For the efforts you have made to co-operate with me in my position on the left, I am under many obligations.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. J. HERRON.
MEMPHIS, TENN., July 5, 1863.
Major-General HALLECK, Washington:
GENERAL: General Prentiss was attacked in force by rebels, under Holmes and Price, at Helena on yesterday. He estimates the force at 15,000. I think 9,000 will cover their strength. Prentiss sustained their attack until 3 p. m., from daylight, when the rebels were repulsed at all points, leaving 1,200 prisoners. Their loss in killed and wounded is about from 500 to 600. Prentiss lost about 60. * He has already sent me 860 prisoners, whom I sent to Alton to-day on the Silver Moon. He has asked re-enforcements. I have sent him the One hundred and SEVENTEENTH Illinois. I cannot spare any more. The enemy are closely picketing every thing south of my line, and seem strong. I have no fear of my position, unless Johnston turns north, but am unable to spare men from Memphis, which I hold with an effective force not 4,000 strong.
Ten days will determine all questions as to Vicksburg, and with its fall will come comparative quiet on my line. There are some 1,500 in all of irregular cavalry north of this, whom I will look after as soon as I get time. They are reported to have captured a detachment, perhaps 150, of Asboth's cavalry.
S. A. HURLBUT.
*See Series I, VOL. XXIV, Part I, p. 390.