XI. In thus dissolving this army, and returning its parts to their appropriate places, General Sherman tenders his personal and official thanks to officers and men for the cordial support he has received from all in thus giving the finishing stroke to the magnificent campaign of Vicksburg.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
R. M. SAWYER,
July 19, 1863-1 p. m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
Mobile papers of 17th copy editorial from Charleston Courier and Mercury of Monday and Tuesday, saying "Fall of Morris Island seals the fate of Charleston," and calls upon the army to drive our forces off at the point of the bayonet, or to burn the city. Davis is much blamed. Papers of 18th said to contain particulars of Charleston, but I cannot get one. Bragg's and Johnston's armies demoralized and destitute. Advise planters of Mississippi to make terms with us, and not to leave home. Davis, in his proclamation, declares all whites between eighteen and forty-five who do not respond to his call will be treated as deserters. Pemberton's army (paroled) was at Brandon. Influential farmers of Mississippi determined to stay at home. They are anxious for us to take possession before Davis' proclamation can be enforced. Johnston's army estimated not to exceed 30,000.
S. A. HURLBUT.
MEMPHIS, TENN., July 19, 1863.
Colonel J. C. KELTON, Assistant Adjutant-GENERAL:
COLONEL: In reply to the telegram of the 15th from the General-in-Chief, I would respectfully submit that as yet I have no intelligence from below of the success of the movements of Major-General Sherman upon Jackson, or of the actual position of Johnston's force. The semicircle of the enemy upon my left and front remains unbroken, and is, so far as I can learn, somewhat increased. Their line, commencing on the Tennessee, follows the right bank of Bear Creek, which is held in force and the crossings fortified. Thence it extends among the hills from which spring the headwaters of the East Fork of the Tombigbee River, by Fulton and Okolona, and thence to Rocky Ford, on the Tallahatchee, and along the line of that stream to Panola. Strong advance posts are held at Pontotoc and Coldwater Station. The line of Bear Creek is commanded by Roddey, who has been re-enforced by some cavalry from Bragg. Ruggles commands at Okolona and Chalmers at Panola. The country in front of them is cautiously picketed, and it would not be difficult for them to unite 6,000 men, with full proportion of artillery, at any central point.
It is necessary in my judgment to hold Corinth and Memphis with a strong force; Corinth because of its military importance, and Memphis for that and other manifest reasons.
The line of railroad is at present of value merely as means of communication between these main points, but may hereafter be required to be extended as a means of supply for the Army of the Cumberland. This line is at present very thinly guarded by infantry, and is actually covered and protected by cavalry.