Yazoo City is being fortified and is strongly garrisoned. General Loring and his troops have done most admirably.
I am drawing corn in large quantities from Yazoo, Sunflower, and Deer Creek, via the river and Grenada; also supplies are being collected along Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and thrown into Vicksburg as rapidly as possible. Nothing prevents large accumulations there of corn but the wretched condition of the Southern Railroad, which after every rain is so seriously injured as to delay transportation for several days; hence I have found it necessary at times to require the rolling-stock of other roads to run their freight through to Vicksburg over the Southern road, not knowing that to-morrow I shall be able to put in a train. It is now, however, accumulating rapidly, and I have already withdrawn the restriction against shipments of sugar for other departments. A moment's reflection will, I think, show the propriety of my order at the time of its issue. I had very little other subsistence for the army there, whilst for nearly a week it was impossible to pass a car over the Southern Railroad, and the navigation of the Mississippi River either cut off or liable to be so at any hour by the passage of gunboats. At this time cattle could be crossed from Louisiana if they were on the shore, but the condition of the country from heavy rains has made it impracticable of late to drive them. I have agents purchasing, and contracts for large number of head, and I hope very shortly to receive some of them. Meat is, I presume, as scarce in this department as in others. The beef obtained in the fall and winter from Texas will not feed on corn, and there being little or no pasturage, the animals become thin and unfit for issue. There is not sufficient beef in the department to feed the people and army for any considerable time. I am getting bacon and salt pork from the interior and from Trans-Mississippi.
General Gardner telegraphs me [2 p. m.] that the bombardment at Port Hudson has commenced; fleet not in range of his pieces; land forces advancing. We have every reason, I think, to hope for success.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. C. PEMBERTON.
JACKSON, March 14, 1863.
Colonel [R.] McCULLOCH,
Comdg. Cav., care Brigadier General J. Z. George, Grenada, MISS.:
Send three companies or 150 men under a reliable field officer to as near the mouth of Coldwater as they can get, to cut off messenger or supply boats. Do this at once.
J. C. PEMBERTON.
JACKSON, March 15, 1863.
PRESIDENT: Following telegram, just received-
Gunboats' fight lasted heavily from 11 to 2; all came up within range. Hartford and Monongahela passed crippled; Mississippi burned; Richmond disabled and sent back. Our loss very small. Forces by land advanced, but all is quiet this morning.
refers to last night. Enemy only tried his land battery against Fort Pemberton. I think all is right. Fully 20,000 effective for defense of Vicksburg, and over 15,000 at Port Hudson. Have force enough, I