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?
U. S. GRANT.
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 70
O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 529-30
Grant, J. E. Smith