Today in History:

7 Series I Volume XXIV-III Serial 38 - Vicksburg Part III


HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, Number 22. Memphis, Tenn., January 22, 1863.

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XV. In pursuance of orders from Headquarters of the Army, the major-general commanding assumes command of all troops in Arkansas which are, or may be, in reach of his orders, and that portion of Arkansas occupied by such troops is temporarily attached to the Department of the Tennessee.

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2. The forces under command of Brigadier-General Gorman are assigned to the Thirteenth Army Corps, Major General J. A. McClernand commanding, and will report accordingly.

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By order of Major General U. S. Grant:

Assistant Adjutant-General.


Young's Point, La., January 22, 1863.

Major General U. S. GRANT,

Comdg. Dept. of the Tennessee:

GENERAL: I arrived here safely yesterday at 2 p. m. with all my transports and my command. Before nightfall I reconnoitered the country within three-quarters of a mile of the canal, and by 9 o'clock this morning quite to and beyond it. The water of the Mississippi River, which is rising rapidly, is in the upper end of the canal, and must run through in a few hours if the rise continues. Further reconnaissances have been made to-day along the river bank, some 2 miles below the canal. The line of the canal is now occupied by forces deemed sufficient to hold it. It is believed that by to-morrow night all my forces will have gained positions at the same time defensible and commanding.

Copies of the Vicksburg Whig, dated yesterday and to-day, have been captured. I learn from them that General Banks is fortifying at Baton Rouge.

A rebel force of 3,000 is said to be encamped at Delhi, on the Vicksburg and Shreveport Railroad, some 40 miles from this place. The report is doubtless well founded. Another rebel force, estimated at 6,000, is said to be encamped on the Mississippi River, some 80 miles below Vicksburg.

Prisoners captured report that the enemy is concentrating a large force at Vicksburg from all points including Richmond, Va., and that he is determined to make a desperate stand there. I will immediately commence enlarging the present or cutting a new canal for the purpose of diverting the channel of the river, as circumstances transpiring within a few hours may suggest. Additional implements, however, will be required to enable me to work effectively in diverting the channel of the stream.

The transports, which are now being unloaded, will all be returned at the earliest possible moment, except such as the public service may require to remain here.

None of the quartermaster, commissary, or ordnance stores expected have arrived, nor any of the re-enforcements promised by you when you were at Napoleon.

Your obedient servant,

JOHN A. McClernand.