Sunday, May 3, 1863

On the March from Milliken’s Bend to across from Grand Gulf

The plan of General Grant is hazardous in extreme. We risk being cut off from enough supplies and starving our army. The canal projects have failed. The Vicksburg guns prevent us from supplying by boat. The roads south are muddy and tortuous. We need to improve our supply lines. I will do all I can to support our expedition. I left the following orders.

Camp before Vicksburg, May 2, 1863
I. The THIRD DIVISION, brigadier-General Tuttle commanding, will move via Richmond and Smith’s plantation to Perkin’s plantation, on the Mississippi, below Carthage.
II. The First DIVISION, Major-General Steele commanding, will move via Richmond and Smith’s plantation to Perkin’s.
These two DIVISIONS will dispose of their camps, property, convalescents, and sick in the manner described in General Orders, Number 26.
III. The SECOND DIVISION, Major-General Blair commanding, will move from its present camp to Milliken’s Bend, selecting good camps in compact shape, and will guard this end of the line as far as Richmond. Special written instructions will be given to General Blair from time to time by General Grant, or the general commanding this corps.
IV. The commanding general, Fifteenth Army Corps, will move today to Milliken’s Bend; Richmond, and thence to Perkin’s place, to which point all communications for him will be addressed.
V. The chief quartermaster and commissary of this corps will dispose their supply boats at some convenient point of Milliken’s Bend, and will use extraordinary efforts to push forward supplies, both for our own corps and General Grant’s army. But the officers and men of the whole army should be impressed with the real difficulty of supplying so large an army of men and horses by such a road, and that the men must carry on their persons as heavy loads as they can bear. The march should be slow, with regular rests, and so arranged that troops will not be kept standing and waiting unnecessarily.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
Assistant Adjutant-General

HEADQUARTERS. Fifteenth ARMY CORPS, Number 30. 
Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana, May 2, 1863.
I. General F. P. Blair will take charge of all the country bordering the Mississippi and back as far as Richmond, and will give all needful orders at Milliken’s Bend. At least two regiments of infantry and one the road. The other regiment of cavalry will, as soon as it returns from the scout, be ordered to patrol the road from Richmond to Smith’s plantation, near Carthage.
II. The convalescents and men left behind by the absent regiments must be reduced to order and system. The officer senior in rank with each regiment, brigade, or DIVISION must be made to report and keep his men in camp, subject to orders and their appropriate share of labor. The surgeons, of course, control all men in general hospital, but the commanding officer present must command the men, and be held responsible that they earn their pay and do military duty to the extent of their strength. Because men are unable to march, or because they are under medical treatment, there is no reason why they should not remain in camp and be prepared to handle their muskets when the lives and safety of all require it.
III. When provision trains or other stores are sent from Milliken’s Bend to the army below, General Blair will detail a sufficient escort to accompany each, composed, as far as possible, of the men left behind belonging to regiments in the advance, with orders to report to their respective commands for duty.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
Assistant Adjutant-General

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