Charles Dana is a special advisor to Secretary of War Stanton. He sends reports of our progress to Stanton. He showed me the one he sent today:
The siege progresses satisfactorily. Sherman has his parallels completed to within 80 yards of the rebel fortifications. He is able to carry artillery and wagons with horses under cover to that point.
McPherson’s rifle-pits are at about the same distance from the forts in his front. On both these lines our sharpshooters keep the rebels under cover and never allow them to load a cannon. It is a mistake to say that the place is entirely invested.
I made a complete circuit of the lines yesterday. The left is open in the direction of Warrenton, so the enemy have no difficulty in sending messengers in and out. Our force is not large enough to occupy the whole line and keep the necessary reserves and outposts at dangerous and important points: still the enemy cannot escape by that route or receive supplies.
An officer who returned yesterday from a visit to Jackson with a flag of truce to take supplies to our wounded, found Loring there with his force, apparently reorganizing and ready for movement. The number, he could not ascertain, but thought it was 5000 at least. Loring, you may remember, escaped to the Southeast with his division after the battle of Baker’s Creek.
The gunboat, Cincinnati, was disabled in a sharp engagement with the enemy’s upper water battery, on Steele’s front. She was compelled by discharges of grape to close her port bow holes, and in endeavoring to get away, swung her stern around toward the battery, when she was so badly hit that her commander ran her ashore, and she sank in shoal water. Some twenty-one lives were lost. She may be raised and saved.
The weather is hot but not at all oppressive.