I took time to write my wife, Ellen:
TO ELLEN EWING SHERMAN
15 Army Corps, Hankinsons Ferry 18 miles from Grand Gulf, May 9,1863
One week after hammering away at Haines Bluff I got here and overtook Grant’s army, having marched 83 miles, & crossed the Mississippi. We are short of wagons and provisions, but in this starving country we find an abundance of corn, hogs, cattle sheep and Poultry. Men who came in advance have drawn but 2 days rations in 10, and are fat. Tomorrow, I march to Big Sandy 9 miles. Next day to Auburn 15 miles and we will then be within striking distance of the Railroad running east from Vicksburg. The enemy must come out to fight us soon as we will be in their rear. The army is in good condition and if they fight us we will have a desperate one.
Grant was delighted to See me and everything works well. Hugh’s Brigade was left at Millikens Bend, and Blair is following with the two other Brigades. I expect Blair to be at Grand Gulf tonight. There is great trouble in crossing wagons. All the Boats that run the Batteries are more or less damaged & work slow except the Forest Queen is a good Boat with a good captain.
My party are all in good health. Hill keeps me as near tucked in as an infant and must have a powerful Hope of Reward. I never saw as faithful a fellow. I let him ride Dolly. I rode Dolly over to See Grant today, and she is Keen as a Ram. All the army is moving. I remain to break a Bridge here at noon tomorrow & then follow, towards Raymond & Jackson.
It was Grierson who made the famous Raid from Lagrange to Baton Rouge. You Remember him at Memphis. I found that Regiment, 6th Illinois, down at the heels & brought it out. I hope Grierson will be rewarded, as the feint was a daring & successful one.
I fear Poor Charley will have a long & dusty march, but when he catches up, I will see he is all right. The marches are not long, & the worst is the dust.
Magnolias in full bloom, and strawberries ripe.
Love to all. Yours Ever,