Sunday, August 2, 1863

Camp on the Big Black River, Near Vicksburg, Mississippi

I have four Divisions:

1st Steele’s, now commanded by Genl. Dennis, at the point, 12 miles East of Vicksburg, where the Rail Road Bridge crosses Black River.

2d Your old Division, 4 miles North East at Fox’s, in reserve, commanded by Genl. Lightburn (Blair & everybody on leave.)

3d Tuttle’s, about 4 miles still further North, on Bear Creek, Watching a Ford across Black River, known as Birdsongs.

4th Ewing’s, in front of the Second, guarding a good bridge, I made astMessengers; This Division came from Memphis, composed in part of the Troops, I left at College Hill, viz. the 6th Iowa, the 40th Illinois. Hicks—53d & 70th Ohio and some 8 other Regiments.

My own HeadQuarters is in a beautiful grove of oaks, in front of the 2d Division, with my Regulars near me. I never saw better camps. All are delighted. Many wanted to go to Natchez, but now they begin to appreciate my reasons, and feel a relief, that we are here to rest and recruit. Our Regiments are much reduced and we have granted furlough to 5 percent of the men, and nearly all officers. I will have to consolidate some Regiments, and hope drafted men will be sent us for others. If I can make my corps 25,000 strong by September, I will be ready for the Alabama.

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