HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Vicksburg, Miss., September 30, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-chief, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I regret that there should be such apparent tardiness in complying with your orders, but I assure you that as soon as your wishes were known, troops were forwarded as rapidly as transportation could be procured.
As previously reported, your dispatches of the 13th were not received for several days after those of the 15th. The latter did not explain your wishes further than that you wanted Rosecrans re-enforced with all my available forces, leaving the Mississippi Valley secure. Although the troops sent under the dispatches of the 15th secure. Although the troops sent under the dispatches of the 15th were 15 miles off, most them were embarked within forty-eight hours. The receipt of your dispatches of the 13th explained everything, and Sherman was immediately ordered up the river with the remained of his corps, substituting one division of the Seventeenth Corps, already forwarded to Memphis, for one here. This reduces me to the smallest possible number for holding this valley. There is to my front now four brigades of cavalry, with at least 20 pieces of artillery, that I know of. The brigades are commanded as follows: Cosby, Whitfield, Logan, and Chalmers. S. D. Lee commands the whole.
A letter just received from Hurlbut states that he can send but one brigade from his corps. An inspection report of the 20th of August shows him to have over 23,000 well men for duty exclusive of extra-duty men. From this he should spare at least 8,000 men and a large portion of artillery. General Hurlbut's letter seems to ignore my orders to him and show an evident inclination to set up a sort of independent command, receiving orders only from Washington. He passes over my orders to him quietly, and tells me that he will send Prentiss in command of forces going eastward.
All. I believe, is now moving according to your wishes. I have about 16,500 men to hold the river from here to Bayou Sara. This is exclusive of colored troops, mostly used guarding the west bank of the river, with the special view of protecting the leased plantations. Citizens of the country in various parts express great anxiety to have our troops among them. I have received applications to send troops to Monroe to hold the place, with the assurance that we should be supplied with beef and corn for nothing. There has also been application made to send troops to Yazoo City. I will not, of course, scatter my forces, having already few enough at the points-Vicksburg and Natchez-necessary to hold.
I have heard nothing recently from Steele's expedition, nor do I learn much of the movements of the enemy west of the river.
I regret that I have not got a movable force with which to attack Mobile or the river above. As I am situated, however, I must be content with guarding territory already taken from the enemy. I do not say this complainingly, but simply regret that advantage cannot be taken of so fine an opportunity of dealing the enemy a heavy blow.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,