“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,

U. S. GRANT.

 

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

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

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