“The endurance, valor, and general good conduct of the NINTH Corps are admired by all”

July 31 1863.  With Vicksburg fallen, I am forced to return the Ninth Army Corps to the Department of the Ohio.  I issued the following special order,


VI. The NINTH Army Corps, Major General J. G. Parke commanding, will return to the Department of the Ohio as rapidly as transportation can be provided. On arriving at Cairo, General Parke will telegraph to the General-in-Chief of the army and to Major-General Burnside for further instructions.

The provost-marshal-general of this army will send north all prisoners of war not authorized to be paroled, in charge of the NINTH Army Corps. They will be left at Indianapolis, or such other point as the General-in-Chief may direct.

In returning the NINTH Army Corps to its former command, it is with pleasure that the general commanding acknowledges its valuable services in the campaign just closed. Arriving at Vicksburg opportunely, taking position to hold at bay Johnston’s army, then, threatening the forces investing the city, it was ready and eager to assume the aggressive at any moment. After the fall of Vicksburg, it formed a part of the army which drove Johnston from his position near the Big Black River into his intrenchments at Jackson, and, after a siege of eight days, compelled him to-fly in disorder from the Mississippi Valley. The endurance, valor, and general good conduct of the NINTH Corps are admired by all, and its valuable co-operation in achieving the final triumph of the campaign is gratefully acknowledged by the Army of the Tennessee.

Major-General Parke will cause the different regiments and batteries of his command to inscribe upon their banners and guidons “Vicksburg” and “Jackson. ”

By order of Major General U. S. Grant:



O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 565-6

“Sickness is showing itself to a very great extent in this command”

July 27 1863.  I wrote Gen. Banks,

Vicksburg, MISS., July 27, 1863.

Major General N. P. BANKS, Comdg. Department of the Gulf:

GENERAL: Herewith I send you dispatch just received from Washington. * In consequence of Price’s movements, I am called upon to send forces to Helena to move against him. I am also compelled to send the NINTH Army Corps back to Kentucky.

These moves are taking all the transportation that can be raised, and I fear that a week more will not see all the troops off. Should I hear in the meantime that the forces are not sufficient for the services required, I will send the freshest DIVISION I have, although all of them are much in need of rest. Sickness is showing itself to a very great extent in this command, though there is but little fatal disease.

I am inclined to believe that Kirby Smith has withdrawn most of his forces that were at Monroe and thereabouts to Shreveport, or at least taken them from where they were. I have taken no pains, however, to find out about them, not being prepared to make any move against them just now.

By the time transportation can be gotten, I will be ready to co-operate with any army corps, if necessary, for the extinction of Smith’s forces, should no move be ordered from Washington requiring my troops elsewhere.

If my troops are to rest for some time, I shall send an army corps to Natchez, instead of keeping them all here. In that case there will always be a force there disposable to give very great assistance, should you require it.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 127-8

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 553

“I am anxiously waiting for some general plan of operations from Washington”

July 26 1863.  I had received two letters from the Superintendent of Military Railroads, Gen. Webster asking about my plans for reopening the railroads in Mississippi.  I replied,

HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE TENN., Vicksburg, MISS., July 26, 1863.

Brigadier General J. D. WEBSTER, Supt. Military Railroads:

GENERAL: Your two letters of the 20th just received. * In regard to opening the railroad east from Corinth, I am not yet prepared to say whether any move will be required. With the present force in West Tennessee, it would not be possible to give adequate protection to extensions beyond Corinth.

I am anxiously waiting for some general plan of operations from Washington. It is important that the troops of different departments should act in concert; hence the necessity of general instructions coming from one head.

Nothing is required from above for the road here. We captured five locomotives in Vicksburg and a number of cars. Only 11 miles of the road is being used, and that only for army purposes. All that will have to be supplied hereafter by this road will be 2,000 or 3,000 men Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 122

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 552-3

“It seems to me that Mobile is the point deserving the most immediate attention”

July 24 1863.  I have just now received the following letter from Gen. Halleck that was sent on July 11.  It reads,

WASHINGTON, D. C., July 11, 1863.

Major-General GRANT, Vicksburg:

GENERAL: I am anxiously waiting for more definite information of the capture of Vicksburg than that contained in your brief telegram of July 4. I am also exceedingly anxious about General Banks’ command, having heard nothing from him since June 29. I hope you have re-enforced him sufficiently to secure the capture of Port Hudson and to enable him to reopen his communications with New Orleans. I also hope you will send north the NINTH Corps as early as possible, for if Johnston should now send re-enforcements to Bragg, I must add that corps to Rosecrans’ command. Unfortunately, Burnside’s army is employed in repelling petty raids, instead of advancing into East Tennessee to co-operate with Rosecrans. Your idea of immediately driving Johnston out of Mississippi is a good one, but it will not be safe to pursue him into Alabama, nor will it be best at present to hold the line of the Tombigbee, even after he has been driven east of that river.

The Mississippi should be the base of future operations east and west.

When Port Hudson falls, the fortifications of that place, as well as of Vicksburg, should be so arranged as to be held by the smallest possible garrisons, thus leaving the mass of the troops for operations in the field.

I suggest that colored troops be used as far as possible in the garrisons. If this meets your approval, raise and arm as many as you can, and send on the names of suitable persons for their officers, and I will submit them to the War Department for appointments. Name none but those known to be competent and reliable, and of good moral character.

I will suppose these preliminary measures-the expulsion of Johnston’s army, the capture of Port Hudson, and the proper security of that place and Vicksburg-to be all accomplished, what is to be done with the forces available for the field? This is an important question, which should be carefully considered.

If Johnston should unite with Bragg, we may be obliged to send Rosecrans more troops than the NINTH Corps. Some re-enforcements will soon go to banks from the North, but he will probably require troops from you, even after the fall of Port Hudson, to drive Magruder and Taylor from Louisiana.

Large forces are comparatively neutralized in Missouri by the forces of Price and Marmaduke threatening the southern frontier of that State. If Little Rock and the line of the Arkansas River were held by us, all of Arkansas north of that river would soon be cleared of the enemy, and all the troops in Missouri, except the militia, could join your army in its operations at the South.

If driven from Northern Arkansas and Southern Louisiana, the enemy would probably operate on the Tensas, Washita, and Red Rivers; but, with the gunboats and forces you could send against him, I do not believe he could accomplish anything of importance.

If the organized rebel forces could be driven from Arkansas and Louisiana, these States would immediately be restored to the Union. Texas would follow, almost of its own accord.

I present these general views for your consideration. Circumstances may compel you to pursue a course entirely different from the one suggested; for example, Johnston may be so re-enforced as to require all your means to oppose him. In that case Rosecrans should be able to occupy East Tennessee without any additional forces, and East Tennessee being once occupied, Burnside’s forces in Kentucky can be sent to you or to Rosecrans. In other words, wherever the enemy concentrates we must concentrate to oppose him.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


I replied,

HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE TENN., Vicksburg, MISS., July 24, 1863.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 11th instant is just received. Since that date you must have received a number of dispatches from me, and before this reaches you, you will receive my official reports of the campaign and siege just ended.

I have sent Banks one DIVISION, numbering full 4,000 effective men. About 7,000 are going up the river, over 5,000 of them to Helena, and the remainder (enfeebled regiments) to WEST Tennessee, to do garrison duty there and relieve fresh troops for the field. I have turned over to General Hurlbut all the directions for the expedition against Price. He is nearer and has better and speedier means of getting information than I have. I hear from General Banks every few days. He feels no alarm, or expresses none to me now, for the safety of his position. With the troops and transports I have sent him, he will find no difficulty in keeping the river clear from Port Hudson down. Above that I will take care of the river. My troops from Jackson are now arriving. The railroads from there in every direction are destroyed beyond repair for this summer. The enemy have lost an immense amount of rolling-stock by Sherman’s expedition. Johnston’s army was much demoralized, and deserted by the hundreds. I do not believe he can get back to Mobile or Chattanooga with an effective force of 15,000 men. The army paroled here were virtually discharged the service. At last accounts Pemberton had but 4,000 left with him, and they were no doubt men whose homes are in the State east of here, and are only waiting to get near them to desert, too.

The country is full of these paroled prisoners, all of them swearing they will not take up arms again if they are exchanged. Thousands have crossed the Mississippi River, and gone west; many buy passages north, and quite a number expressed a strong anxiety to enlist in our service. This, of course, I would not permit.

The NINTH Army Corps has just returned from Jackson, and will return to Burnside as fast as transportation can be provided.

My troops are very much exhausted, and entirely unfit for any present duty requiring much marching. But, by selecting, any duty of immediate pressing importance could be done. It seems to me that Mobile is the point deserving the most immediate attention. It could not be taken from here at this season of the year. The country through which an army would have to pass is poor and water scarce. The only present route, it seems to me, would be from some point in Lake Ponchartrain. I have not studied this matter, however, it being out of my department.

Either Sherman or McPherson would be good men to intrust such an expedition to. Between the two, I would have no choice, and the army does not afford an officer superior to either, in my estimation. With such men commanding corps or armies, there will never be any jealousies or lack of hearty co-operation. I have taken great pleasure in recommending both these officers for promotion in the regular service.

Immediately on taking possession of Vicksburg, I directed Captain Comstock, chief engineer, to lay out a line of works suitable for a garrison of 5,000 men. The work will necessarily progress slowly, for I do not want the white men to do any work that can be possibly avoided during the hot months. I also authorized the raising of a regiment of twelve companies of 150 men each, to be used as artillerists, and also to be drilled as infantry to garrison the place. I selected one of the colored regiments that had been officered by General Thomas for this purpose. The regiment selected had but few men in it at the time. It is now filled to nearly a complete infantry regiment.

Should my course not be sustained, all the surplus men can be transferred to other organizations. The negro troops are easier to preserve discipline among than our white troops, and I doubt not will prove equally good for garrison duty. All that have been tried have fought bravely.

Before raising any new regiments of colored troops, I think it advisable to fill those already organized. General Herron’s trip to Yazoo City gave us a great many recruits, and General Ransom’s expedition to Natchez has given and will give several thousand. The absence of General Hawkins has been a great drawback to the perfect organization of the black troops. I have no one to fully take his place.

Should Schofield require more troops than are already sent him (I do not believe he will) to drive Price south of the Arkansas River, I will furnish them. Kirby Smith’s forces now occupy Delhi, Monroe, and Harrisonville, besides points on the Red River. They are represented as being in a demoralized condition, requiring one-half to hold the other in service. I may, when my troops are a little rested, clear out the Harrisonville and Monroe forces, but I do not think this of sufficient importance to allow it to interfere with any movements east of the river. Sending a force to Natchez was a heavy blow to the enemy. At this point the troops WEST of the river cross their munitions of war, and cattle for the eastern army cross at the same place.

Ransom secured 5,000 head of Texas cattle, nearly 500,000 rounds of infantry ammunition, some artillery ammunition, many horses and mules, prisoners and small-arms. A part of the cattle were sent to Banks. He also called on me for 2,000 mules, which we are able to supply as fast as transportation can be provided.

The wounded and sick prisoners, of which there was about 5,000 who would not bear land transportation, I am sending to Mobile and Alexandria. Pemberton’s army may be regarded as discharged the service, and we stand credited with about 31,000 of them paroled and 7,000 or 8,000 sent north since the 1st of April.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 108-112

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 497-8, 546-7

“You will proceed as early as practicable with your DIVISION to Port Hudson, La.”

July 23, 1863.  I have begun to send troops to Gen. Banks to support his operations in Texas.  I wrote Gen. Herron,

HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE TENN., Vicksburg, MISS., July 23, 1863.

Major-General HERRON, Commanding DIVISION:

GENERAL: You will proceed as early as practicable with your DIVISION to Port Hudson, La., and there report in person by telegraph to Major-General Banks, commanding Department of the Gulf. You will take with you all the baggage and transportation of your DIVISION, thirty days’ rations, and 500 rounds per man of infantry ammunition, and artillery ammunition to refill boxes once. Should no orders reach you before arriving at Port Hudson, you will go on to that point and await orders there.

Should General Banks give you service to perform in co-operation with movements in other part of his department, and which require a greater force than you have with you, call upon me, and I will endeavor to re-enforce you to the necessary extent. All the troops left with me are exhausted and unfit for immediate service. It is hoped, therefore, that no call will be made for more troops, except in case of great necessity.

Very respectfully,


The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 106

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 545

Halleck: “Before attempting Mobile I think it will be best to clean up a little”

July 22 1863.  I received a reply from Gen. Halleck concerning my idea to move on Mobile next.  He wrote,

WASHINGTON, July 22, 1863-11. 30 a. m.

Major-General GRANT, Vicksburg, MISS.:

Yours of the 15th and 18th just received. Should Johnston escape and join Bragg, the NINTH Corps must be sent to Rosecrans by quickest route. If not, it may be used elsewhere. Before attempting Mobile I think it will be best to clean up a little. Johnston should be disposed of; also Price, Marmaduke, &c., so as to hold the line of the Arkansas River. This will enable us to withdraw troops from Missouri, Vicksburg, and Port Hudson, remodeled so as to be tenable by small garrisons; also assist General Banks in cleaning out Western Louisiana. When these things are accomplished there will be a large available force to operate either on Mobile or Texas. The navy is not ready for co-operation. Should Fort Sumter fall, iron-clads can be sent to assist at Mobile. Please send copy to General Banks.



The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 71

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 542

“My army … is much broken, and must have rest”

July 21 1863.  With the Vicksburg campaign complete, it is time to rest and consolidate our position.  Gen. Hurlbut has sent us many men as reinforcements for the siege and he will need to be reinforced in turn, lest he be attacked.  The rebel Gen. Price is threatening Missouri.  I wrote Hurlbut with an explanation of the coming troop dispositions.

HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE TENN., Vicksburg, MISS., July 21, 1863.

Major General STEPHEN A. HURLBUT, Comdg. SIXTEENTH Army Corps:

GENERAL: Sherman has driven Johnston from Jackson. The latter is now retreating eastward, with his whole army much demoralized and deserting in great numbers, and no doubt many falling by the wayside, from heat, dust, and drought. My army, from long marches, battles, and the extraordinary length of the siege, is much broken, and must have rest. Two DIVISIONS of the SIXTEENTH Corps are now at Jackson; the remaining one [Kimball’s] is here, and is in fact the only troops I have fit to make a move. These I have ordered to be in readiness to go to Helena as soon as transportation can be provided. This, I think, will be within two days. Johnston’s army is so broken that no danger need be apprehended from them for the next thirty days or more. I shall as soon as possible send some odd regiments to you. They are weak, ineffective men, but will no doubt recuperate rapidly by the change.

I am sending artillery from here to complete the armament at Helena, and can send as much as you want for Memphis. Captain Comstock, chief engineer, has now gone up to see just what is required for both places. I cannot believe that any portion of your command is in any danger from anything more than a cavalry raid, but your opportunities are so much better for knowing than mine, that I leave it to you entirely to make the necessary disposition of the forces at your command.

If any more troops are required to operate against Price, I will have to send Herron, who is now returning from an exhausting march from Yazoo City to Canton and return. The forces going from here will be provided transportation and artillery. It is probable if any move is made against Price, Ord will go in command, but of this I am not yet certain.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 85-6

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 539-40

Sherman: “The enemy is now all far beyond Pearl River, in full retreat, and Jackson is utterly destroyed as a military point”

July 20 1863.  I received two telegrams from Gen. Sherman reporting on his pursuit of Gen. Johnston,

General GRANT.

[JULY 20, 1863.]

General Parke started in with two DIVISION this morning. General Ord will move to-morrow, and I will follow only when order and system are restored to this distracted country. The people are subdued, and ask for reconstruction. They admit the loss of the Southern cause.

Expedition from Canton and beyond is back, having done their task well, whipping Jackson’s cavalry at Canton. The cavalry is also in from Brookhaven; burned four locomotives and many cars, depots, tanks, bridges, &c., so there is a break of 100 miles in the Great Central road.

Steele was at Brandon last night.

The drought is terrible, and must tell terribly on the enemy, retreating fast to the east through a parched and desert country.

Our march back will be slow and easy, regulated by water.




General GRANT, Vicksburg.

JACKSON, July 20, 1863-6 p. m.

Steele is back. All well. He drove the cavalry of the enemy beyond Brandon, and then destroyed depots and 3 miles of road there. I will remain to-morrow, batter down the Pearl River piers, destroy the bridge we have built, and make a good finish to one job.

The enemy is now all far beyond Pearl River, in full retreat, and Jackson is utterly destroyed as a military point.

If, on the day after the morrow, no change occurs, I will move my corps slowly back to Black River, camp the DIVISION in good localities, and then report to you in person. I ask no indulgence for myself, but the men and officers need a couple of months of rest and relaxation.


Major-General, Commanding.


I replied,

Vicksburg, MISS., July 20, 1863.


The heat and dust being suffocating, you may take your own time returning. You can locate your forces on Big Black, or return to your former position at your own option. By scattering the troops on high ground it may be more healthy than having them close together. No eastern news.



The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 83

O.R., I, xxiv, part 2, p 530

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 536

“It seems to me now that Mobile should be captured”

July 18 1863.  With Johnston driven out of the state of Mississippi, it is now time to determine what our next target will be.  Mobile would seem to be the logical choice as it is the last deep water port east of the Mississippi still under rebel control.  I wrote Gen. Halleck,

Vicksburg, MISS., July 18, 1863-12 m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:

Joe Johnston evacuated Jackson the night of the 16th. He is now in full retreat east. Sherman says most of his army must perish from heat, lack of water, and general discouragement.

The army paroled here have, to a great extent, deserted, and are scattered over the country in every direction.

Learning that Yazoo City was being fortified, I sent General Herron there. Five guns were captured, many stores and about 300 prisoners.

General Ransom was sent to Natchez to stop the crossing of cattle for the eastern army. On arrival he found large numbers had been driven out of the city to be pastured; also that munitions of war had recently been crossed over to wait for Kirby Smith. He mounted about 200 of his men and sent them in both directions. They captured numbers of prisoners and 5,000 head of Texas cattle, 2,000 head of which were sent to General Banks; balance have been and will be brought here. In Louisiana they captured more prisoners; a number of trains loaded with ammunition. Over 2,000,000 rounds musket ammunition was brought back to Natchez with the teams captured, and 268,000 rounds, besides artillery ammunition, destroyed.

It seems to me now that Mobile should be captured, the expedition starting from some point on Lake Pontchartrain.

There is much sickness in my command now, from long and excessive marching and labor. I will co-operate as soon as possible with General Schofield, so as to give him possession of the line of Arkansas.

Shall I retain or send back the NINTH Army Corps?


The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 70

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 529-30

Grant, J. E. Smith

Sherman: “General Johnston evacuated Jackson last night”

July 17 1863.  Gen. Sherman has taken Jackson.  Johnston was able to withdraw his forces, but the town is ours.  I received the following telegram from Gen. Sherman,

Army before Jackson, July 17, 1863—6 a. m.

General Johnston evacuated Jackson last night. I will occupy it with one DIVISION of Steele, and hasten the enemy on his way east, but, in the mean time, the weather is too hot for a vigorous pursuit. Railroad north and south is being absolutely annihilated.




I responded,

Vicksburg, MISS., July 17, 1863.

General SHERMAN:

Don’t destroy any cars at Jackson nor the road east near Jackson whilst you occupy the place. Destroy it far off to the east if you can. If Johnston is pursued, would it not have the effect to make him abandon much of his train, and many of his men to desert? I do not favor marching our men much, but if the cavalry can do anything they might do it. I leave this to your judgment, with the superior opportunities you have of knowing what should be done.



The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 64-5

O.R., I, xxiv, part 2, p 528

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 522