East of Grand Gulf, Mississippi
My men are following the lead of McClernand and McPherson. We are marching up the South and East side of the Big Black River. We should arrive at Hankinson’s Ferry Tomorrow. Our supply line is tenuous, but so far has been adequate. When we are on the move, we can live off the land. If we are halted in one place, it will be difficult to supply our army. We received this report from my Division at Milliken’s Bend.
MILLIKEN’S BEND, Louisiana, May 8, 1863
Major General U. S. GRANT, commanding Department of the Tennessee:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that, since the 2nd instant, I have forwarded by wagons to Perkin’s plantation and Grand Gulf over 300,000 rations of hard bread, coffee, sugar, and salt, 225,000 rations of salt meat, and 130,000 of soap. The other parts of the ration not being considered essential, only a small amount was sent for issue to hospitals.
The above statement does not include the amount forwarded today, as the reports of the day have not yet been handed to me. There has been no delay in sending forward stores from this place, the commissaries working night and day when there were any to be loaded. There are now on hand at the place nearly 2,000,000 completed rations. Invoices have been received of a half million more rations en route.
On relieving Colonel Hawkins, I directed Colonel Haines to keep constantly on hand at this place 3,000,000 complete rations. This amount I expect to have in the course of a week. I will use every exertion to keep your army supplied.
I have just seen your letter to Colonel Hillyer in relation to the parts of the ration you desire sent. These instructions will be strictly complied with. No more meat will be forwarded until a proportionate quantity of hard bread has been sent.
The new road across Young’s Point will, I am informed, be placed in good condition in a day or two. There will then be no difficulty in supplying your army. The rations are here, and all that is required are the means of transportation to get them forward.
I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel, and Chief Commissary of Subsistence