July 20 1863. I received two telegrams from Gen. Sherman reporting on his pursuit of Gen. Johnston,
[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.
W. T. SHERMAN,
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.
W. T. SHERMAN,
Vicksburg, MISS., July 20, 1863.
General WILLIAM T. SHERMAN:
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.
U. S. GRANT.
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