Oct 10 1863. A Lt. Col. Wilson has come down to Vicksburg from Cairo Ill., carrying a dispatch from Gen. Halleck. It reads,
WASHINGTON, October 3, 1863-11 a.m.
Lieutenant Colonel J. H. WILSON,
Telegraph in general terms disposition of General Grant’s forces. Convey as soon as possible to General Grant the following: It is the wish of the Secretary of War that as soon as General Grant is able to take the field, he will come to Cairo and report by telegraph.
H. W. HALLECK,
I will turn over command of the forces around Vicksburg to Gen. McPherson. I wrote him,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Vicksburg, Miss., October 10, 1863.
Major General J. B. McPHERSON,
Commanding Seventeenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: Headquarters, &c., will be removed to Nashville, Tenn. All forces south of Helena, black and white, will be removed under General McPherson, as commander of the District of Vicksburg.
Complaints are made that raids go out from the west bank of the river into Macon County and bring in cotton, thus endangering the crops and personal property of the inhabitants there to seizure and destruction by the rebels. This is unauthorized, and General Hawkins should be instructed to use every effort to put a stop to it.
It would be advisable to send Osband’s cavalry to Skipwith’s Landing to remain for a few weeks, to give protection to the few deserving people in that country, and also to fill up his regiment from the plantations around owned by persons of disloyalty. Send them through by land, crossing the Yazoo about the mouth of Sunflower. They should be instructed to treat the people with kindness. A few on that side have protection papers. Such persons should receive the full benefit of them.
Where planters have hired their negroes in accordance with established regulations, recruiting officers should refuse to receive or harbor them about their camps. The Duncans have hired theirs in that way.
Headquarters may be established in Louisville for the purpose of receiving all reports, &c. This will be fully determined probably at Cairo.
In regard to the expedition going out to Canton, special directions cannot be given for it. After reaching that place, I would like, however, that everything possible should be done to create the impression that the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad was in danger.
The commanding general will of course keep headquarters informed of all movements of the enemy coming to his knowledge. He will also make such moves with his troops as the protection of the territory intrusted to his charge may require.
The marine fleet will habitually be kept on shore, and only go on their boats when sent for special duty. Details can be made from other forces to accompany them when necessary. The boats for the marine fleet can be used for transportation of troops when required, but habitually they will be kept ready to send them to other points on the river.
U. S. GRANT,
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 276-78
O.R., I, xxx, part 4, p 55, 234-35