Lieutenant-Colonel John M. Corse; Fortieth Illinois, Colonel J. W.
Booth; Forty-sixth Ohio, Colonel O. C. Walcutt; Thirteenth United
States Infantry, First Battalion, Major D. Chase.
Third Brigade, Brigadier-General J. W. DENVER.--Forty-eighth Ohio,
Colonel P. J. Sullivan; Fifty-third Ohio, Colonel W. S. Jones;
Seventieth Ohio, Colonel J. R. Cockerill.
Fourth Brigade, Colonel DAVID STUART.--Fifty-fifth Illinois,
Colonel O. Malmburg; Fifty-seventh Ohio, Colonel W. Mungen;
Eighty-third Indiana, Colonel B. Spooner; One Hundred and Sixteenth
Illinois, Colonel Tupper; One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Illinois,
Fifth Brigade, Colonel R. P. BUCKLAND.--Seventy-second Ohio,
Lieutenant-Colonel D. W. C. Loudon; Thirty-second Wisconsin,
Colonel J. W. Howe; Ninety-third Indiana, Colonel Thomas;
Ninety-third Illinois, Major J. M. Fisher.
Subsequently, Brigadier-General J. G. Lauman arrived at Memphis,
and I made up a sixth brigade, and organized these six brigades
into three divisions, under Brigadier-Generals M. L. Smith, J. W.
Denver, and J. G. Lauman.
About the 17th of November I received an order from General Grant,
LAGRANGE, November 16, 1862.
Meet me at Columbus, Kentucky, on Thursday next. If you have a
good map of the country south of you, take it up with you.
U. S. GRANT, Major-General.
I started forthwith by boat, and met General Grant, who had reached
Columbus by the railroad from Jackson, Tennessee. He explained to
me that he proposed to move against Pemberton, then intrenched on a
line behind the Tallahatchie River below Holly Springs; that he
would move on Holly Springs and Abberville, from Grand Junction;
that McPherson, with the troops at Corinth, would aim to make
junction with him at Holly Springs; and that he wanted me to leave
in Memphis a proper garrison, and to aim for the Tallahatchie, so
as to come up on his right by a certain date. He further said that
his ultimate object was to capture Vicksburg, to open the
navigation of the Mississippi River, and that General Halleck had
authorized him to call on the troops in the Department of Arkansas,
then commanded by General S. R. Curtis, for cooperation. I
suggested to him that if he would request General Curtis to send an
expedition from some point on the Mississippi, near Helena, then
held in force, toward Grenada, to the rear of Pemberton, it would
alarm him for the safety of his communications, and would assist us
materially in the proposed attack on his front. He authorized me
to send to the commanding officer at Helena a request to that
effect, and, as soon as I reached Memphis, I dispatched my aide,
Major McCoy, to Helena, who returned, bringing me a letter from
General Frederick Steele, who had just reached Helena with
Osterhaus's division, and who was temporarily in command, General
Curtis having gone to St. Louis. This letter contained the
assurance that he "would send from Friar's Point a large force
under Brigadier-General A. P. Hovey in the direction of Grenada,
aiming to reach the Tallahatchie at Charleston, on the next Monday,
Tuesday, or Wednesday (December 1st) at furthest." My command was
appointed to start on Wednesday, November 24th, and meantime
MajorGeneral S. A. Hurlbut, having reported for duty, was assigned
to the command of Memphis, with four regiments of infantry one
battery of artillery, two companies of Thielman's cavalry and the
certain prospect of soon receiving a number of new regiments, known
to be en route.
I marched out of Memphis punctually with three small divisions,
taking different roads till we approached the Tallahatchie, when we
converged on Wyatt to cross the river, there a bold, deep stream,
with a newly-constructed fort behind. I had Grierson's Sixth
Illinois Cavalry with me, and with it opened communication with
General Grant when we were abreast of Holly Springs. We reached
Wyatt on the 2d day of December without the least opposition, and
there learned that Pemberton's whole army had fallen back to the
Yalabusha near Grenada, in a great measure by reason of the
exaggerated reports concerning the Helena force, which had reached
Charleston; and some of General Hovey's cavalry, under General
Washburn, having struck the railroad in the neighborhood of
Coffeeville, naturally alarmed General Pemberton for the safety of
his communications, and made him let go his Tallahatchie line with
all the forts which he had built at great cost in labor. We had to
build a bridge at Wyatt, which consumed a couple of days, and on
the 5th of December my whole command was at College Hill, ten miles
from Oxford, whence I reported to General Grant in Oxford.
On the 8th I received the following letter:
OXFORD MISSISSIPPI, December 8, 1862--Morning
General SHERMAN, College Hill.
DEAR GENERAL: The following is a copy of dispatch just received
WASHINGTON, December 7, 1862--12M
The capture of Grenada may change our plans in regard to Vicksburg.
You will move your troops as you may deem best to accomplish the
great object in view. You will retain, till further orders, all
troops of General Curtis now in your department. Telegraph to
General Allen in St. Louis for all steamboats you may require. Ask
Porter to cooperate. Telegraph what are your present plans.
H. W. HALLECK, General-in.-Chief.
I wish you would come over this evening and stay to-night, or come
in the morning. I would like to talk with you about this matter.
My notion is to send two divisions back to Memphis, and fix upon a
day when they should effect a landing, and press from here with
this command at the proper time to cooperate. If I do not do this
I will move our present force to Grenada, including Steele's,
repairing road as we proceed, and establish a depot of provisions
there. When a good ready is had, to move immediately on Jackson,
Mississippi, cutting loose from the road. Of the two plans I look
most favorably on the former.
Come over and we will talk this matter over.
U. S. GRANT, Major-General.
I repaired at once to Oxford, and found General Grant in a large
house with all his staff, and we discussed every possible chance.
He explained to me that large reenforcements had been promised,
which would reach Memphis very soon, if not already there; that the
entire gunboat fleet, then under the command of Admiral D. D.
Porter, would cooperate; that we could count on a full division
from the troops at Helena; and he believed that, by a prompt
movement, I could make a lodgment up the Yazoo and capture
Vicksburg from the rear; that its garrison was small, and he, at
Oxford, would so handle his troops as to hold Pemberton away from
Vicksburg. I also understood that, if Pemberton should retreat
south, he would follow him up, and would expect to find me at the
Yazoo River, if not inside of Vicksburg. I confess, at that moment
I did not dream that General McClernand, or anybody else, was
scheming for the mere honor of capturing Vicksburg. We knew at the
time that General Butler had been reenforced by General Banks at
New Orleans, and the latter was supposed to be working his way
up-stream from New Orleans, while we were working down. That day
General Grant dispatched to General Halleck, in Washington, as
OXFORD, December 8, 1862.
Major-General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
General Sherman will command the expedition down the Mississippi.
He will have a force of about forty thousand men; will land above
Vicksburg (up the Yazoo, if practicable), and out the Mississippi
Central road and the road running east from Vicksburg, where they
cross Black River. I will cooperate from here, my movements
depending on those of the enemy. With the large cavalry force now
at my command, I will be able to have them show themselves at
different points on the Tallahatchie and Yalabusha; and, when an
opportunity occurs, make a real attack. After cutting the two
roads, General Sherman's movements to secure the end desired will
necessarily be left to his judgment.
I will occupy this road to Coffeeville.
U. S. GRANT, Major-General.
I was shown this dispatch before it was sent, and afterward the
general drew up for me the following letter of instructions in his
own handwriting, which I now possess:
HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS
DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
OXFORD, Mississippi, December 8, 1862.
Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding Right Wing Army In the
GENERAL: You will proceed with as little delay as practicable to
Memphis, Tennessee, taking with you one division of your present
command. On your arrival at Memphis you will assume command of all
the troops there, and that portion of General Curtis's forces at
present east of the Mississippi River, and organize them into
brigades and divisions in your own way.
As soon as possible move with them down the river to the vicinity
of Vicksburg, and, with the cooperation of the gunboat fleet under
command of Flag-Officer Porter, proceed to the reduction of that
place in such manner as circumstances and your own judgment may
The amount of rations, forage, land transportation, etc., necessary
to take, will be left entirely to yourself.
The quartermaster in St. Louis will be instructed to send you
transportation for thirty thousand men. Should you still find
yourself deficient, your quartermaster will be authorized to make
up the deficiency from such transports as may come into the port of
On arriving in Memphis put yourself in communication with Admiral
Porter, and arrange with him for his cooperation.
Inform me at the earliest practicable day of the time when you will
embark, and such plans as may then be matured. I will hold the
forces here in readiness to cooperate with you in such manner as
the movements of the enemy may make necessary.
Leave the District of Memphis in the command of an efficient
officer and with a garrison of four regiments of infantry, the
siege-guns, and what ever cavalry force may be there.
One regiment of infantry and at least a section of artillery will
also be left at Friar's Point or Delta, to protect the stores of
the cavalry post that will be left there. Yours truly,
U. S. GRANT, Major-General.
I also insert here another letter, dated the 14th instant, sent
afterward to me at Memphis, which completes all instructions
received by me governing the first movement against Vicksburg:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE
OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI, December 14, 1862
Major-General SHERMAN, commanding, etc.,
I have not had one word from Grierson since he left, and am getting
uneasy about him. I hope General Gorman will give you no
difficulty about retaining the troops on this side the river, and
Steele to command them. The twenty-one thousand men you have, with
the twelve thousand from Helena, will make a good force. The enemy
are as yet on the Yalabusha. I am pushing down on them slowly, but
so as to keep up the impression of a continuous move. I feel
particularly anxious to have the Helena cavalry on this side of the
river; if not now, at least after you start. If Gorman will send
them, instruct them where to go and how to communicate with me. My
headquarters will probably be in Coffeeville one week hence.... In
the mean time I will order transportation, etc.... It would be well
if you could have two or three small boats suitable for navigating
the Yazoo. It may become necessary for me to look to that base for
supplies before we get through....
U. S. GRANT, Major-General.
When we rode to Oxford from College Hill, there happened a little
circumstance which seems worthy of record. While General Van Dorn
had his headquarters in Holly Springs, viz., in October, 1862, he
was very short of the comforts and luxuries of life, and resorted
to every possible device to draw from the abundant supplies in
Memphis. He had no difficulty whatever in getting spies into the
town for information, but he had trouble in getting bulky supplies
out through our guards, though sometimes I connived at his supplies
of cigars, liquors, boots, gloves, etc., for his individual use;
but medicines and large supplies of all kinds were confiscated, if
attempted to be passed out. As we rode that morning toward Oxford,
I observed in a farmer's barn-yard a wagon that looked like a city
furniture-wagon with springs. We were always short of wagons, so I
called the attention of the quartermaster, Colonel J. Condit Smith,
saying, "There is a good wagon; go for it." He dropped out of the
retinue with an orderly, and after we had ridden a mile or so he
overtook us, and I asked him, "What luck?" He answered, "All
right; I have secured that wagon, and I also got another," and
explained that he had gone to the farmer's house to inquire about
the furniture-wagon, when the farmer said it did not belong to him,
but to some party in Memphis, adding that in his barn was another
belonging to the same party. They went to the barn, and there
found a handsome city hearse, with pall and plumes. The farmer
said they had had a big funeral out of Memphis, but when it reached
his house, the coffin was found to contain a fine assortment of
medicines for the use of Van Dorn's army. Thus under the pretense
of a first-class funeral, they had carried through our guards the
very things we had tried to prevent. It was a good trick, but
diminished our respect for such pageants afterward.
As soon as I was in possession of General Grant's instructions of
December 8th, with a further request that I should dispatch Colonel
Grierson, with his cavalry, across by land to Helena, to notify
General Steele of the general plan, I returned to College Hill,
selected the division of Brigadier-General Morgan L. Smith to
return with me to Memphis; started Grierson on his errand to
Helena, and ordered Generals Denver and Lauman to report to General
Grant for further orders. We started back by the most direct
route, reached Memphis by noon of December 12th, and began
immediately the preparations for the Vicksburg movement. There I
found two irregular divisions which had arrived at Memphis in my
absence, commanded respectively by Brigadier-General A. J. Smith
and Brigadier-General George W. Morgan. These were designated the
First and Third Divisions, leaving the Second Division of Morgan Z.
Smith to retain its original name and number.
I also sent orders, in the name of General Grant, to General
Gorman, who meantime had replaced General Steele in command of
Helena, in lieu of the troops which had been east of the
Mississippi and had returned, to make up a strong division to
report to me on my way down. This division was accordingly
organized, and was commanded by Brigadier-General Frederick Steele,
constituting my Fourth Division.
Meantime a large fleet of steamboats was assembling from St. Louis
and Cairo, and Admiral Porter dropped down to Memphis with his
whole gunboat fleet, ready to cooperate in the movement. The
preparations were necessarily hasty in the extreme, but this was
the essence of the whole plan, viz., to reach Vicksburg as it were
by surprise, while General Grant held in check Pemberton's army
about Grenada, leaving me to contend only with the smaller garrison
of Vicksburg and its well-known strong batteries and defenses. On
the 19th the Memphis troops were embarked, and steamed down to
Helena, where on the 21st General Steele's division was also
«- Previous | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 | View All | Next -»