“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I am inclined to believe that Kirby Smith has withdrawn most of his forces that were at Monroe and thereabouts to Shreveport, or at least taken them from where they were.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,

U. S. GRANT.

 

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

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