Camp Near Vicksburg
We have finished our demonstration up the Yazoo and against Haynes Bluff. We received reports that the enemy was sending troops North from Vicksburg and that was the desired effect. Grant has recalled me and wants me to bring two divisions South of Vicksburg as soon as possible. After dark last night, we made as if to land at Chickasaw Bayou, but drifted downstream. Once out of sight, we steamed for Milliken’s Bend.
Steele’s and Tuttle’s Divisions have gone out, and I start tomorrow to overtake & pass them. I have nothing positive from below. Blair’s Division will remain here for now. This leaves both Hugh & Charley here, and I do think it is well as the movement below is extra hazardous, and the labor of sustaining them is going to be terrible. The new canal is dug but dry, the River having fallen very much.
I wrote to my wife Ellen:
Millikens Bend, May 2, 1863
I got yours of April 24, after your return from your visit to Cincinnati, and Charley got two of date April 20th both of which I read & delivered. Hugh is all right and keeps very steady since I fetched him up. I wrote him a note and asked him after he read it to destroy it and say not a word of its contents which were plain and to the point. I think he will keep all right unless something occurs to disturb his Peace of mind.
The idea of accusing me of complicity in Cotton Speculation is so absurd that no one but laughs at it and would at me for noticing it. I send you an express receipt for $871, my pay for March & April which is better than cotton if you will only salt away a little of it. We can’t make much out of newspapers when Juries will decide that Lies are more readable & palateable to the People than the uninteresting details confirmed by Truth. Slander is the Rule, unless one pays for truth as the advertisement. Before this war is over all this will be remedied. If our People dont learn more honesty & propriety, Jeff Davis with his armed warriors will rule as with a rod of iron, and I dont know a People that merit a despotism more than we do.
Hugh & Charley will write you all about things. You will miss Dayton’s letters. I will be out of the line of letters for some time and you will have to guess pretty liberally. I should like very much to see Minnie & Willy now. I dreamed that Willy crept into my bed and lay up softly to me, and I cannot explain my disappointment at waking in my narrow cot and discovered the illusion. I saw him as plainly as possible.
Two of my friends have died recently in Colonel Hildebrand, and Bishop Otey of Memphis. You remember the latter, a stately elegant gentleman and a good christian, though somewhat secesh. Still in Principles, he was an Union man, though all his associations in life were Southern.
From this time forth all armies must be active, and it may be this Campaign may foreshadow the end, but order & system cannot result till one or other of the parties is defeated. I have your fathers letter. It is too late. Stuart is gone. He will not again accept service till he has had time to cover his mortification at the result of his last venture. Nothing but pure patriotism would induce him to submit his name to the U.S. Senate.
I think Grant will take Grand Gulf, but that is not Vicksburg yet.
My love to all, Affectionately,
W. T. Sherman