The Vicksburg and Deer Creek road can be approached by a road running from Black Hawk, Carroll County, to Sidon, on the Yazoo River, thence in a westerly direction, on the Garvin's Ferry road, to Greenville, on the Mississippi River. There is also a road from Lexington, Holmes County, across Honey Island, to McAfee's Ferry, on the Yazoo River, which intersects the Garvin Ferry road, in Sunflower County. Again, from Carrollton to Greenwood, on the Yazoo River, through McNutt, in Sunflower County, directly west, to Bolivar Landing, on the Mississippi River. Again, from Charleston, Tallahatchee County, through Locopolis, to Lake Concordia or Conception, on the Mississippi, Bolivar County. You are, however, aware, from your own knowledge of that part of the State, that the artillery could not be taken across the Yazoo bottom until the roads become dry, and they will not be passable before the middle of May, and even that will much depend on the state of the overflow. During an overflow, I have known the waters east of Deer Creek to continue to rise until the middle of July. In the counties of Bolivar, Washington, and Issaquena, the crops of corn are large and the yield abundant, and in many instances near the river they have been left ungathered. Corn-meal can be had in great abundance for the troops, and forage for the horses. Unless already driven eastward and slaughtered, there should be beef cattle in considerable numbers, which, with the vast amount of vegetables in that part of the country, would nearly subsist the forces. Indeed, there is not now any part of the Confederacy where most of the prime articles of life are so abundant as in the counties first named. In conclusion, then, you will perceive that the great obstacle to the operations of such a force will perceive that the great obstacle to the operations of such a force will be the condition of the roads over which the artillery must pass to reach the banks of the Mississippi. I am, however, inclined to the belief that before artillery could be gotten to, say, Bolivar County, the attack on Vicksburg and Port Hudson will have been made, and, with whatever result, will greatly change the military combinations in the west.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. G. FRENCH.
GENERAL ORDERS, HDQRS. FIFTH MILITARY DISTRICT, DEPT. Mississippi AND EASTERN La., Number 1. Panola, MISS., March 10, 1863.
In obedience to Special Orders, Number 68, from Lieutenant General J. C. Pemberton, dated Headquarters Department Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana, Jackson, MISS., March 9, 1863, I hereby assume command of the FIFTH Military District of this department, composed of the two northern tiers of counties in this State. All officers commanding regiments, battalions, or companies of Confederate or State troops in this district, will at once forward to these headquarters a complete return of the strength of their commands, the names, rank, and date of election of each officer, the number and kind of arms, the amount of ammunition, and of camp and garrison equipage on hand. I come to this command from an army and brigade where discipline has been enforced with the utmost strictness, and the same degree of discipline will be expected from the officers and men of this district. Every officer will be held to a strict accountability for the conduct of his men, and in no case will officers or men be permitted to sleep out of their proper quarters. We are immediately in front of the enemy, and the utmost diligence is necessary to prevent surprise and disagree. Our proximity to the enemy