OAK RIDGE, July 2, 1863
General Grant is worried that Johnston is moving his army for an attack from the South of Vicksburg.
I do not believe Johnston will come in by Hankinson’s, but I will be ready to move in that direction on short notice. My scout went to Auburn and will develop the truth, and I had him make speed.
SHERMAN, Major General.
My scout has communicated through General Osterhaus. We still do not know the intentions of the enemy. Vicksburg is a key for them I must believe that Johnston will attack us.
CAMP ON BEAR CREEK, July 2, 1863
DEAR GENERAL: I have been out all morning, and, on return, find your orderly with letter from Tuttle, the scout. General Grant telegraphed me in the night that the enemy had made his appearance at Hankinson’s, and he believed he would make a diversion in that quarter. I understand General Grant is watching closely that direction, and in case of the appearances being alarming, he may move me in that direction. General McArthur reports the enemy preparing a battery on the bluff opposite Hooker’s, looking to that passage also. We cannot prevent the passage of Big Black River, but must attack his column or columns as they make their appearance.
Keep General Grant advised of everything you see and hear, and send me word. Some rifle-pits on the hill at Bovina might be handy on some future occasion, and might be prepared now.
I am, with respect, your obedient servant,
General McARTHUR reports the enemy probing the crossing of the Big Black in his front and requests authority to place artillery on the bluff commanding the crossing:
HEADQUARTERS, SIXTH DIVISION, ARMY OF THE OBSERVATION,
July 2, 1863
Major-General SHERMAN, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: Your letter of this morning is just received. The work of clearing and fortifying is progressing rapidly. My observations yesterday are accelerating my movements. They were as follows: I went to the ferry at Hooker’s, and found a few of the ubiquitous cavalry keeping watch, with no visible signs of the enemy on their front.
I afterward went to Coaker’s Ferry. There I found things quite different; the enemy busy. I saw four or five army wagons passing about, and appeared to be hauling cotton and other materials; whether to build fortifications or a bridge, I do not know. The latter, however, was the conclusion I arrived at, for the following reasons:
1. There is a high bluff, extending for about 2 miles, completely commanding the horseshoe neck leading to the ferry from this side.
2. It is easier for the enemy to cover their crossing at that point than at any other, in the event of their retreat, which is inevitable. Hence I infer that this will be their principal crossing, with Bridgeport and Messinger’s as auxiliaries, especially the latter ford for their cavalry and infantry. I would like with your permission to fortify the hill overlooking Messinger’s, and advance a regiment to that point with a section of artillery. The river takes more of a bend at Coaker’s Ferry than is laid down on our maps. I inclose a little sketch of the bend. I have ordered the scout as you direct down the river from Messinger’s, and will send you their report.
Your most obedient servant,