I am going to Haynes Bluff to check on Blair and our defenses in the rear. Before I left, I wrote the following letter to Admiral Porter:
TO DAVID DIXON PORTER
HeadQuarters, 15th Army Corps.
Camp Walnut Hills, June 14,1863
I owe you a letter. Our siege is settling down into a chronic state, but I feel certain that Time is working favorably to us. We have as you Know, received reinforcements and they are composed of good troops. I feel no concern about Johnston, though assured public feeling at the South will force him to make a desperate attack. We must commit to make no mistake. I think their men have fought so much behind parapets that we can whip them in the open field and therefore, we must manage not to be too much divided, and to catch Johnston the moment he offers Battle.
The Garrison of Vicksburg will soon feel the effects of pestilence. I see acres of hospital tents and the yellow flag denotes nearly all the hospitals. I can See dead animals lying unburied, but I am free to admit their men stand to their places like heroes. My “Sap” is up to their Main Ditch and I have two Side parallels quite close up. The place you visited near the scarred oak tree is now a large “Place d’Armes” and I have Six guns in its left flank. I wish we had a better Supply of 30 pound Parrott ammunition as it is a favorite Gun. In spite of all orders my Gunners will fire it too often. Your gunner, Captain Selfridge is doing good work, and his guns make a mark when they do hit. I have been down to that flank less than usual of late having looked more to the country.
I am going up to Haines Bluff tonight and will return tomorrow, making a circuit to the Right. General Parke has gone to Haines. I commend him to you as a young officer of great promise and one whose acquaintance if not already made will afford you pleasure. I deem our army here at this time extremely fortunate in Securing him. He has with him 5 Brigades of Burnside’s Old Corps, the 9th about 8000 men. General Ord is also expected here & will command Herron’s & Lauman’s Divisions, so we will have one of the best appointed Armies on the continent. If Joe Johnston whips us he will achieve wonders. He can’t do it. We have Vicksburg now in our grasp and it must & Shall not escape us.
I have read the Black Hawk Chronicle and will always read it with pleasure emanating from such a quarter. In return I send you the Vicksburg Daily Citizen of reduced dimensions. I Know you will read it and though you will pity the poor victims of your bombs, you will not feel hurt at being charged with purposely firing at yellow flags. They stream from nearly every house top. I hope you will keep up the Shelling to the maximum capacity day & night whilst we dig our trenches. The web is closing in fast and we will secure our victim unless some superhuman effort from without relax our grasp.
I wish you would ride up again. The Roads are now good, dust is laid, and the weather more bearable.
I hope our Guard may waylay that party of officers on their return. Should you see anything requiring a guard of soldiers along the Mississippi near the Cincinnati, telegraph or rather signal direct to Colonel Woods who commands that Brigade and he will attend to it immediately. It will seem more than the hour it takes to get a message from the Station to my HeadQuarters & back to Woods. Besides, I am so often out in the trenches.
Present me kindly to Captain Breese, and tell him I want to see him very much. I don’t want to get on board a Boat, till it be at Vicksburg Wharf.
With great respect your friend,
W.T. Sherman Major General