the siege of Vicksburg I had a large surplus of troops over what required to make the investment complete. These troops occupied a line from Haynes' Bluff to Black River, across which Johnston would have to move to reach Vicksburg or the rear of the investing army. Sherman commanded all these forces, and held them in readiness to move the moment Vicksburg should fall into our hands. Accordingly, on the 4th instant he started. As soon as the city had capitulated, I ordered the whole of Sherman's and Ord's corps, forming about two-THIRDS of the investing army, to move out and join Sherman's. They started the night of the 4th. A portion of McPherson's corps was already with Sherman. This left me at this place but six small brigades. Hearing that the enemy was fortifying Yazoo City most vigorously, I sent two of them to that place. They captured it, with considerable stores, five or six pieces of artillery, and several hundred prisoners. But one of the gunboats accompanying the expedition being sunk by the explosion of a torpedo, I shall have to leave them there until the armament and machinery of the vessel can be got away. I have also sent a brigade to Natchez, to collect a large number of Texas cattle supposed to be there, destined for Johnston's army. This you see leaves me no force to move with until Sherman returns. When this will be it is hard to tell.
Johnston commenced to fall back from the Big Black the moment he heard of the surrender of Vicksburg. As all his droves of cattle and wagon trains that fell back via Canton were ordered east to the Mobile and Ohio road, he could not have intended to make a determined stand. He drove all his troops, however, inside of the entrenchments of Jackson, and remains there yet. Sherman has him closely invested from the Pearl River on the north to the river on the south. By this an immense deal of rolling-stock has been separated from the Confederacy both north and south of Jackson, and the roads so completely destroyed as to render them forever useless.
How long this siege will last it is impossible to say. When Johnston is driven from his position, however, I will have troops available for anything that will go to put down the rebellion. I suppose the NINTH Army Corps will have to be sent back to Burnside, and 10,000 to 12,000 effective men sent to Banks, but for the expedition you speak of, unless other orders should come from Washington, I will still have force enough.
Kirby Smith has been hovering around on the opposite side of the river, with his headquarters at Monroe, and his force scattered from Saint Joseph to Floyd. It has been my intention to pay him a call as soon as possible, but I now learn, and I believe reliably, that all his scattered forces are called in, and the whole are moving to Shreveport, La. The object of the move I do not see unless it is to avoid being hurt.
I have not paid any special attention to the geography of the opposite side of the river, but suppose White River would, at this season of the year, be used as a base for supplies to reach Little Rock. The Arkansas can hardly be used until the fall rains set. in.
You will see from the foregoing statement that I can give you nothing definite of future operations yet. As soon as I possibly can, I will do so.
Nothing like 500 [teams] will be required with this army to prepare it for any move, and should any be required it would probably be only the wagons and harness without the animals.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT.