HEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Vicksburg, Miss., December 7, 1863.
Brigadier General W. Q. GRESHAM,
GENERAL: Your dispatch of the 6th is just received. You acted judiciously and fully up to the spirit of your instructions in going directly to Natchez. Brigadier-General Cosby is not with Wirt Adams, or was not on Saturday, the 5th instant, though some portion of his command may be. You will until further orders remain in command of the U. S. forces at and in the vicinity of Natchez, and act in accordance with your best judgment. Keep me fully advised of everything important, and if you want any re-enforcements they can be sent you.
It may ge necessary to keep the force you have, or an equal one,at Natchez for some little time, certainly as long as the enemy are in force in that section.
Direct Captain Hains to push forward the work on the defenses as rapidly as possible. Anything your command may want can be sent down.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON,
KNOXVILLE, December 8, 1863.
I leave Granger at Knoxville, and with my command start to-morrow for the Hiwassee.
W. T. SHERMAN,
CHATTANOOGA, December 8, 1863-5.30 p.m.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Keep your troops in the valley of Upper Tennessee until it seems clear that the enemy has entirely abandoned the State. It may be possible that Longstreet may be re-enforced about Bristol and return. Two boats unloaded rations near Kingston, and more will be sent in a day or two. Two more boats will ge running in a few days, when we will be able to feed your army to a great extent from here.
U. S. GRANT,
CHATTANOOGA, December 8, 1863-6 p.m.
(Received 11 p.m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
May it not be possible that Lee will re-enforce Longstreet about Bristol and return to Knoxville? I have sent Sherman orders to remain in the Upper Valley until it is fully believed that it is clear of an enemy. It may prove difficult to feed a large army there for any length of time.
U. S. GRANT,