SHERMAN, WILLIAM TECUMSEH, General. Autograph letter signed ("W.T. Sherman") as Major General, to General E.O.C. Ord, "Camp on Black River," 3 August 1863. 2¾ pages, 4to, lined stationery, docketed on verso, first page a bit pale.
SHERMAN SETS THE RECORD STRIGHT ON THE RECENT VICTORIES AT VICKSBURG AND JACKSON
Sherman acknowledges Ord's report on the siege of Jackson (9-16 July): "...I do not treat this Jackson movement as a separate matter. It was simply a postscript to the Vicksburg Affair. Had we quietly entered Vicksburg the South would have raised the old story of Gun boats, &c. afraid to leave the River. But we did leave the River, and we did beat [Confederate General Joseph E.] Johnston at his own Game. He can only boast of beating us at a Retreat -- well, let him have that Glory....[I]t would have been folly for us with our Men in their then condition to have followed him into Alabama, when we knew he had run to his rear all his heavy Stuff, retaining of course his Cavalry and best troops as Rear Guard. We must not ask any Glory, but we justly claim that we did right in chasing his hostile Army away off from the Mississippi. He was about Lauderdale Springs the last I heard -- [General William Hicks] Jackson came back to Brandon with part of his Cavalry...I have in my hand papers with a long string of names, asking us both to stay away. 'The People are tired of War -- they want a Ration, a Wagon, etc.,' the old Seminole Story. You will have a hard time in Natchez [Ord's next posting] -- our Country here is all plundered -- you have that to go through yet. I have a magnificent camp, and think it will be healthy..."
After Vicksburg surrendered on 4 July 1863, Sherman moved on General Johnston's army in Jackson, Mississippi, and besieged the town, which Johnston and his rebels abandoned the night of 17 July. As Sherman later explained, "pursuit in that hot weather would have been fatal" (Memoirs, Lib. of America edn., p.357).