I received a letter from a group of Mississippi gentlemen complaining about a loss of property. Property loss was the risk they took when they renounced the government and voted for secession. They lost all protection of their former government.
TO JESSE REED AND W. B. ANDERSON
Black River, Near Vicksburg, Mississippi. August 3, 1863
Messrs. Jesse Reed, W. B. Anderson, Hinds County Committee: Gentlemen:
Yours of August 1 is received. I withdrew from Jackson purposely to avoid the destruction to private property, always incident to the occupation of an army. You have seen enough of armies to know that they are so intent on overcoming their opponents that the poor people receive very little consideration at their hands. I do not believe we will again have occasion to visit Hinds County. The people who have wives and children to feed and protect should, as soon as possible, begin to reorganize a government capable of protecting them against the bands of scouts and guerrillas that infest the land, who can do no good, and may do you infinite mischief.
I am satisfied General W. H. Jackson, C.S. Army, will restrict the operations of his scouts, and I will do the same with ours, and in that way I hope and trust the citizens may have enough leisure to study their real interests, which must lead them to the conclusion that war was not the remedy for grievances, or supposed grievances, for which our forefathers provided the Supreme Court of the United States to arbitrate and remove. You may safely count on all United States officers in authority to encourage the return of the people of Mississippi to the peace and prosperity that they enjoyed under the Union.
With great respect,
W. T. Sherman