WAR DEPT. ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 305.
Washington, July 10, 1863.
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VII. By direction of the President of the United States, Major General E. O. C. Ord is appointed to the command of the Thirteenth Army Corps, in place of Major General John A. McClernand, relieved, to date June 18, 1863.
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By order of the Secretary of War:
E. D. TOWNSEND,
WASHINGTON, D. C., July 11, 1863.
Major-General GRANT, Vicksburg:
GENERAL: I am anxiously waiting for more definite information of the capture of Vicksburg than that contained in your brief telegram of July 4. I am also exceedingly anxious about General Banks' command, having heard nothing from him since June 29. I hope you have re-enforced him sufficiently to secure the capture of Port Hudson and to enable him to reopen his communications with New Orleans. I also hope you will send north the NINTH Corps as early as possible, for if Johnston should now send re-enforcements to Bragg, I must add that corps to Rosecrans' command. Unfortunately, Burnside's army is employed in repelling petty raids, instead of advancing into East Tennessee to co-operate with Rosecrans. Your idea of immediately driving Johnston out of Mississippi is a good one, but it will not be safe to pursue him into Alabama, nor will it be best at present to hold the line of the Tombigbee, even after he has been driven east of that river.
The Mississippi should be the base of future operations east and west.
When Port Hudson falls, the fortifications of that place, as well as of Vicksburg, should be so arranged as to be held by the smallest possible garrisons, thus leaving the mass of the troops for operations in the field.
I suggest that colored troops be used as far as possible in the garrisons. If this meets your approval, raise and arm as many as you can, and send on the names of suitable persons for their officers, and I will submit them to the War Department for appointments. Name none but those known to be competent and reliable, and of good moral character.
I will suppose these preliminary measures-the expulsion of Johnston's army, the capture of Port Hudson, and the proper security of that place and Vicksburg-to be all accomplished, what is to be done with the forces available for the field? This is an important question, which should be carefully considered.
If Johnston should unite with Bragg, we may be obliged to send Rosecrans more troops than the NINTH Corps. Some re-enforcements will soon go to banks from the North, but he will probably require troops from you, even after the fall of Port Hudson, to drive Magruder and Taylor from Louisiana.
Large forces are comparatively neutralized in Missouri by the forces of Price and Marmaduke threatening the southern frontier of that State. If Little Rock and the line of the Arkansas River were held by us, all of Arkansas north of that river would soon be cleared of the enemy, and all the troops in Missouri, except the militia, could join your army in its operations at the South.
32 R R-VOL. XXIV, PT. III