Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 29, 1863: U.S. Grant to William Tecumseh Sherman


Ulysses S. Grant was keeping a wary eye on Joseph Johnston's army while at the same time maintaining a tight grip on Vicksburg, Mississippi. Grant praised Sherman's precautions, but then discussed Johnston's options and how they could be countered.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Near Vicksburg, June 29, 1863.

Major General WILLIAM T. SHERMAN, Comdg. Fifteenth Army Corps:

GENERAL: Your general order, blank number, is received. The dispositions you made are excellent. It will be impossible for Johnston to cross the Big Black River, north of the railroad, without being discovered and your troops ready for him. My only apprehensions are that Johnston, finding us so ready, may cover a movement south, and dash in at Baldwin's and south of that before troops can be got out to meet him. A move of this kind certainly could not be made for anything more than a diversion to relieve the Vicksburg garrison. It does not look to me as if Johnston would ever think of bringing his wagon train across Big Black River south of us. I had but little confidence in the blockading of the roads south of the Jackson road; something has been [done], however, and will help a little if Johnston should attempt to come in that way. Ord's cavalry watch all the ferries south of Baldwin's, and though they sometimes see rebel cavalry east of the river, yet they discover no signs of an attempt to cross.

I sent out a scout, who traveled for some time east from Big Black River bridge and south of the railroad. He says no troops have gone south of the railroad. The same statement is made by a deserter from one of the Texas brigades stationed at Bolton Station; but this information is several days old. In the mean time Johnston may have changed his plans and the position of his troops half a dozen times. You need not fear, general, my tender heart getting the better of me, so as to send the secession ladies to your front; on the contrary, I rather think it advisable to send out every living being from your lines, and arrest all persons found within who are not connected with the army.

Very truly, yours,

U. S. GRANT.

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