Louisiana, Across from Grand Gulf, Mississippi, South of Vicksburg
Last night I was over to Grand Gulf and returned this morning. Grant has moved inland about 18 miles. He wants my DIVISINS to cross as soon as possible with as much food and wagons as possible. I sent the following orders to get my DIVISIONS across. I have ordered General Blair to leave some troops to guard Milliken’s Bend, improve the road and send supplies. I have written Generals Steele and Tuttle instructions for crossing the Mississippi and reminders about our food and supply situations.
CAMP AT PERKINS’, May 5, 1863 7 a. m.
SIR: I received your letter last night, telling of the sinking of one tug, and the two burning barges floating by tell the rest of the tale.
I now inclose you an order to come forward to me at Grand Gulf, leaving four regiments: two at Milliken’s Bend and two at Richmond. Which two must in turn be relieved by others to be sent down from Memphis. Turn over all command to General Sullivan and come forward, bringing along as much rations and stores as you can, for there is little or nothing down here. Send me word by courier when you will reach Grand Gulf, and in what order. I was down to Grand Gulf last night. Grant was supposed to be out about 24 miles.
The enemy has escaped across Big Black River, and Grant will now probably strike in the direction of the Jackson Railroad.
It was Grierson who made the cavalry raid down to Meridian, and he is supposed to be traveling toward Baton or Dixie. It has produced a sort of panic South, and Grant’s movements will complete it, some say.
Of course, I wish you to come forward with all possible expedition; only bring your men in good shape.
W. T. SHERMAN
The following were sent to Steele and Tuttle:
PERKIN’S, May 5, 1863
Major General FRED. STEELE:
DEAR GENERAL: I have General Grant’s orders to come to Grand Gulf and cross over with my two DIVISIONS. The only road is down the river, to a point opposite where, I am told, the steamers ferry troops. You will, therefore, not stop at Perkin’s, but march right along down the Mississippi to a point opposite Grand Gulf, continuing your march, so that your men may arrive in good order and condition. The distance from here is represented at 20 miles.
I am, &c.
W. T. SHERMAN
CAMP AT PERKINS’, May 5, 1863
Brigadier General J. M. TUTTLE, Comdg. THIRD DIVISION:
GENERAL: I have General Grant’s orders to march my two DIVISIONS down to Grand Gulf and to cross over. The distance from Perkins’ is represented at 20 miles, and the road lies along the levee; therefore continue your march down, so as to reach Grand Gulf in good order.
I apprehend great difficulty in the matter of food, and caution you to give the subject your whole attention. Instruct all regimental commanders that every ounce of food must be economized.
I fear the four barges which were designed to pass Vicksburg might have come to evil. Two burning barges floated by here an hour since.
I have sent back to Milliken’s Bend for 175 of our wagons, to follow me to Grand Gulf, but Grant orders me to so arrange that three days’ rations last five days. We must caution all the men accordingly.
There are now six DIVISIONS of our men across and operating east of Grand Gulf. Let us catch up as quickly as possible consistent with bringing our men there in good fighting condition.
W. T. SHERMAN