Immediately on receipt of your dispatches I forwarded them by Colonel Riggin, of my staff, who will take them as far as Cairo. I ordered the boats and other articles you required at once, and as many of the boats as can be got ready will go down at the same time with this. I also ordered, on the strength of Colonel Smith's report, about 1,000 men to Natchez, to hold that place for a few days, and to collect the cattle that have been crossing there for the rebel army. I am also sending a force to Yazoo City, to gather the heavy guns the rebels have there, and to capture, if possible, the steamers the enemy have in Yazoo River.
Sherman is still out with a very large force after Joe Johnston, and cannot well be back under six or seven days. It will be impossible, therefore, for me to send you the forces asked for in your letter until the expiration of that time. I telegraphed to Washington, however, the substance of your request and the reason for it. So far as anything I know of being expected from my force. I can spare you an army corps of as good troops as ever trod American soil. No better are found on any other. It will afford me pleasure to send them if I am not required to do some duty requiring them. When the news of success reached me, I had General Herron's DIVISION on board transports, ready to start for Port Hudson. That news induced me to change their direction to Yazoo City.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT.
Vicksburg, MISS., July 11, 1863.
Major General F. J. HERRON:
GENERAL: The fall of Port Hudson obviates the necessity of your move in that direction. Your orders are, therefore, countermanded. You will proceed with your command on transports to Yazoo City, take possession of that place, and drive the enemy from that place and section.
Johnston is reported as having sent orders to have Yazoo City fortified. This we cannot permit. Admiral Porter is sending gunboats to co-operate. Communicate with him, and move when he is in readiness.
Take with you a battery, if you can get it aboard without too much delay.
By order of Major General U. S. Grant:
JNO. A. RAWLINS,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE TENN., Vicksburg, MISS., July 11, 1863.
Brigadier General E. S. DENNIS, Comdg. Dist. Northeastern Louisiana:
GENERAL: I have received a letter from Washington stating that the Duncan estate had been visited by the press-gang, or recruiting parties from your district, and their negroes carried off. The Duncans have been loyal from the beginning of the rebellion, and as loyal persons have had safeguards given them by myself and Admiral Porter, and I have further received instructions from Washington to protect all loyal persons found in the South, and mentioning the Duncans, in particular, as being entitled to protection. They have gone so far as to acknowledge the freedom of their slaves, and made, as I understand, regular contracts with them to pay wages, and employ them just as negroes are employed on leased plantations.
I want the matter fully investigated and a report made to me. Send