Reports of Brig. Gen. Peter J. Osterhaus, U. S. Army, Commanding Ninth Division.
MAY 19-JULY 4, 1863.--The Siege of Vicksburg, Miss.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXIV/2 [S# 37]

HEADQUARTERS NINTH DIVISION,
Big Black River Railroad Bridge, May 25, 1863.

Lieut. Col. WALTER B. SCATES,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Thirteenth Army Corps.

        COLONEL: I arrived with the First Brigade (two sections of the Second Light Artillery) at this place yesterday morning, and relieved Colonel Slack, as per instructions. Of Colonel Wright's command I only found two companies, numbering to 50 men in the aggregate. Whether the colonel himself and the balance of his command will report here or not, I am unable to state; but from the fact that he sent yesterday night for the above 50 men only three days' rations, I am inclined to infer that the colonel will not join me soon, nor the balance of his command either.
        You will see readily that with the above very small force it is utterly impossible to do a great deal of good. I posted vedettes at Bovina and the Bridgeport, Hall's, and Baldwin's Ferry roads; also a picket on the Edwards Station road; had all these roads patrolled, and in such manner disposed of the whole number of cavalry here without any men left to relieve to-day.
        If Colonel Wright comes up to-day, I will make such arrangements as to keep thoroughly informed of all movements of the enemy in our rear.
        The town of Raymond was taken yesterday morning by the Eighth Kentucky and Twentieth Mississippi Regiments. The sick, wounded, and nurses were paroled. From the statements of the paroled men, the enemy is trying to collect a large force at or near Jackson, to operate against us in a very few days. I do not put much credence in such reports; but the fact that the above-named regiments are in the immediate vicinity of our lines makes it necessary that a considerable cavalry force be concentrated here to stop and prevent raids as that into Raymond. There are some Confederate troops at Clinton, and they will undoubtedly visit our hospitals in every direction, in order to swell their numbers of prisoners, by paroling the sick and attendants. In connection with this matter, I beg leave to inquire where the Fifty-fourth Indiana Infantry is stationed now. They were left at Raymond with the One hundred and twentieth Ohio. The latter regiment came up since, but the whereabouts of the former is not known to me. The regiment is not in Raymond any more, but I would like very much to have it rejoin my command if such be possible. Only two sections (6-pounder brass guns) of the Second Ohio Battery are with me, and they are without any ammunition at all except canister, which cannot be used. The section of 12-pounder howitzers, which is the most effective in the present position, is, I believe, with General McArthur's division. Please have them ordered forward, and also cause Colonel Mather to send us the ammunition for the pieces.
        I inclose a letter to Lieut. A. Beach. This officer was left at your headquarters to await the arrival of the ammunition for that battery. Could you hasten his return?
        I send an order to Colonel Wright at once to join me, but not being in possession of an official order assigning him to my division temporarily, I am in doubt whether he will respect my order or not, and you would be very kind by giving this important matter your attention; also, from a man just in, I learn that all negroes are to be collected and sent to Jackson, which place is to be fortified by the enemy.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS NINTH DIVISION,
Big Black River Bridge, Mississippi, May 27, 1863.

Lieut. Col. WALTER B. SCATES,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        COLONEL: Colonel Wright, with 200 men, has reported this a.m., and I have commenced executing the instructions received from Generals McClernand and Grant. I have destroyed all the railroad bridges from Big Black to Bolton Station; burned all Confederate stores, railroad cars, &c.; collected about 300 bales of cotton, 100 head of Confederate States beef-cattle, and 100 sheep. The cotton I forwarded, per instructions from General Grant, to the river landing; the beef and sheep will be turned over to the commissary of subsistence of the Thirteenth Army Corps in the morning.
        There are several reports of Morgan's [?] cavalry approaching. Captain [Greene] Durbin, assistant quartermaster, who, under a flag of truce, came within 2 miles from Jackson, met there Generals Loring and Morgan [?] with a large force, not less than 7,000, in his estimation. The captain could not ascertain in which direction the column was moving.
        A rebel officer, under a flag of truce, bearing General Loring's reply to General Grant's letter by Captain Durbin, is at my pickets at this time. Not desiring that he enter my lines, I sent an officer of my staff to receive the rebel dispatches, and leave to the officer bearing them the choice to either stay outside my picket until General Grant's answer arrived, or return and leave it to a flag of truce from our side to carry that answer to General Loring. I hope this course may meet the general's approval.
        The large number of wounded at Champion's Hill expressed the desire to be removed into our lines. I would be very glad to respond to their wishes, if adequate means of transportation were at my disposal. Could you not cause General Hovey to send his ambulances and ambulance corps over for the purpose, if the transfer is approved by General McClernand? Be so kind and give me your opinion in regard to this matter by return messenger.

I am, colonel, your most obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Big Black River Railroad Bridge, May 29, 1863.

Maj. Gen. U.S. GRANT,
Commanding Department of the Tennessee.

        GENERAL: Your order of to-day to burn the railroad bridges and track east of here is just received, and I take immediate steps to execute them most effectually.
        I had the honor before to report that I had almost every bushel of corn destroyed along the railroad line and the public road as far as Bolton. Since then I did the same thing as far north and south of the railroad as my limited means allowed it, and Colonel Wright, with the Sixth Missouri Cavalry, is out at present to look around at and near Bridgeport.
        The following articles of contraband were collected on these raids and shipped: To Major Garber, assistant quartermaster Thirteenth Army Corps, 53 mules, 14 horses, and 152 bales of cotton; to commissary of subsistence Thirteenth Army Corps, 118 head of beef-cattle. There are now on this side ready for shipment 330 bales of cotton, and a lot of beef-cattle will come in this afternoon. Cotton and beef will be forwarded to the river with all dispatch.
        My scouts from Edwards Station, Champion's Hill, Hall's Ferry, and Bridgeport Ferry report everything quiet. No enemy has been seen since the soi-disant paroling of the wounded at Champion's Hill. The paroling officer there only took a list of the men, without their giving or signing the parole. Can such proceedings stand for a parole?
        All the wounded are anxious to get away, but my means of transportation are not adequate, and, besides, I do not consider myself authorized to cause the transfer.
        I hope to be able to report to you by to morrow how I succeeded in the work of laying waste, and remain, with great esteem, your most obedient servant,

P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS NINTH DIVISION,
Big Black River Railroad Bridge, Miss., May 30, 1863.

Lieut. Col. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department Headquarters.

        COLONEL: In pursuance of my letter of yesterday evening, addressed to Major-General Grant, I have the honor to report that the long railroad bridge is burned and down since 11 o'clock last night. I keep a strong detail at work to destroy the railroad beyond the bayou (east of the fortifications), but, having but very insufficient tools, they could only take up the rails and ties for a little over a mile beyond the bayou bridge. The ties and rails are most effectually destroyed. Another party is detailed to continue the work to-day, and if I can manage to gather cavalry enough to protect them beyond my line of pickets, I hope to have the gap extended from the river to Edwards Station by to-morrow.
        This morning I sent, through Quartermaster [Absalom] Finch, of the Second Brigade, Ninth Division, 200 bales of cotton and 60 head of beef-cattle. The cattle are some of the best stock I have seen. About 100 more bales of cotton are awaiting shipment on return of my trains. Most of the cotton was taken 5 miles southeast from here, beyond the river. When my men were loading the last wagons yesterday night, the covering cavalry patrols reported a rebel picket in sight. My men dashed on them, and ascertaining the fact, that there was a superior force within 1 mile of them, I immediately sent out from Colonel Wright's (Sixth Missouri) cavalry several patrols to feel the enemy and collect all information about him. These patrol parties just returned and report as follows:
        Patrol No. 1 went on the road where the rebels were seen in the afternoon, leading from our Big Black River hospital (Smith's plantation) into the Raymond road. On the arrival at the point in question, the enemy had changed his position and had moved in a northern direction. They were about 300 strong, under a Colonel or Major [H. B.] Lyon, and all of the Eighth Kentucky. This regiment left Vicksburg 600 strong on May 19, and marched, by way of Cayuga and Crystal Springs, to Meridian, where it was mounted and marched back by Jackson, and is now on a patroling and cotton-burning tour. The regiment does not number over 300 now, and is by no means anxious for a fight.
        Patrol No. 2 started for Edwards Station, and thence north to Green's Hill Church, where they learned that Hall's cavalry (three companies) and 300 infantry were between Brownsville and Birdsong Ferry. The latter seems to be of importance to the rebels.
        Patrol No. 3 marched to Bolton, where they burned two railroad cars and a depot, which were not destroyed before, and in going out north to Brownsville set fire to about 1,500 bushels of corn. In coming back, they heard of the Eighth Kentucky passing in the immediate vicinity, but saw no rebels whatever.
        The above detachments appear to constitute all the enemy's force in our immediate vicinity; but from corroborating information gleaned from different parties, it is pretty certain that General Loring was night before last, with 5,000 or 6,000 men, at Jackson, while General Johnston is at Canton 18,000 strong, and expecting re-enforcements within eight days, which would swell his army to about 40,000. He would not commence hostilities until these troops have arrived, and his attack would be directed against Haynes' Bluff, crossing Big Black at Morris' Bluff. I give this rumor because it was spread among the knowing ones to some extent, either for keeping up the sinking hopes of the true Southerners or because it is founded on some truth and probability.
        Allow me, colonel, to direct your attention to the very weak number of cavalry at this point, not over 200 effective, and this number, by the very hard service, is pretty much run down. If compatible with other necessities, I would like to have the force strengthened, not only to give to the overworked men and horses a chance to rest, but to look a little closer after these mounted infantry lurking around me. On this occasion let me remember the Fourth Missouri Cavalry, a splendid regiment, now at Columbus, Ky.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS NINTH DIVISION,
Big Black River Railroad Bridge, June 1, 1863.

Lieut. Col. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Tennessee.

        COLONEL: Since my last letter I am at work in destroying the railroad track east, but the absence of the proper, or, in fact, of all, tools, retards the job considerably. For about 4 miles the ties and iron are destroyed by fire, besides the burning of all wooden structures as far out as Bolton. The last patrols coming in report all quiet. They only heard of some forces beyond Brownsville. The various parties out yesterday burned 825 bales of (Confederate States of America) cotton and 8,000 bushels of corn. They only found a few horses and mules; they are getting scarce.
        A negro just in from Jackson, which he left yesterday morning, saw no troops anywhere this side along the railroad, but reports General Johnston with a large three at Jackson, in camp on both sides of the river. He calls the force three divisions.
        On Saturday last five trains with troops arrived at Jackson, the troops coming from Virginia and Carolina. They had some field artillery with them. The negro heard nothing indicative of General Johnston's intentions, except that he would re-enforce Pemberton and give us a severe "whopping." They are still throwing up fortifications at Jackson.

I am, colonel, with great respect, your very obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS NINTH DIVISION,
Big Black River Railroad Bridge, Mississippi, July 4, 1863.

Maj. Gen. U.S. GRANT,
Commanding Department of the Tennessee.

        GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of yesterday, with orders and instructions relative to a rebel force at Grant's house. I immediately sent all the available cavalry force (three companies Sixth Missouri) in that direction, with orders to proceed, as far as practicable, with a view to make a connection with Colonel Johnson's column, and to gather all the information in regard to ferries and fords across Big Black, and, further, in regard to any attempt of the enemy's advance.
        The party has just returned, and reports that the rebel Major [W. A.] Rorer, with the Twentieth Regiment Mississippi Infantry (mounted), 600 strong, had been encamped on the Benton road from Vicksburg, at the bridge across Bear Creek, about 1 mile east of where General Blair was encamped, at Major Hains' place.
        From Capt. Tom Jones (a dangerous rebel, who is my prisoner, and whom I will forward to the headquarters) we learn that the above force was the only one in the immediate vicinity, and that it was the same which was at Grant's house.
        There are several fords north of the Bridgeport Ferry which are now practicable; one ford is between the latter and the Birdsong Ferry, the other below Bush Ferry. From the description of the location of the above-mentioned secesh camp and the situation of these fords, I am inclined to think that the Twentieth Mississippi, which figured a few days ago considerably below Raymond, Bolton, and Brownsville, crossed at these fords, and it would be very desirable to have a flying column established between Bush's Ferry (Oak Ridge) and Bridgeport Ferry to interrupt such raids.
        I am also informed that the rebel General Walker was crossing his division yesterday at Kibby's Ferry (I believe it the same as Cox's Ferry), to make a reconnaissance, but that Joe Johnston was not yet prepared to advance. The party sent out yesterday night did not learn anything of Colonel Johnson. There seem to be a number of rebel squads running all over the country in my front and on my right (across the river).
        Yesterday a patrol of the Third Illinois fell in with about a dozen men. My men were returning from Champion's Hill, and found the rebels on the road east of Edwards. They fired, and the rebels turned north, giving my men the road.
        Another patrol, under Captain Millert, Sixth Missouri Cavalry, ordered to go by Edwards to Bridgeport, met about 25 rebels mounted on mules. They attacked them and unsaddled one, bringing in mule and saddle.
        From contraband source I heard yesterday that a regiment of Ten-nesseeans were marching toward Baker's, or Fourteen-Mile Creek. 1 at once sent a company of cavalry to Baldwin's Ferry, but, on returning, the commander reported everything quiet in that direction.
        The Eighth Kentucky (rebel), under Lyon, marched yesterday morning at 3 o'clock through Edwards, taking some of the paroled prisoners (rebel) away.

I am, general, with the highest esteem, your very obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Big Black River Railroad Bridge, Miss., June 6, 1863--10.30 p.m.

Lieut. Col. WALTER B. SCATES,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Thirteenth Army Corps.

        COLONEL: My pickets on the east side of Big Black have been attacked this evening, and after a pretty lively fire compelled to fall back behind the bayou bridge. I made the necessary preparations to repel any attack the enemy may intend, at the same time increasing the cavalry detachments on the Bridgeport and Hall's Ferry roads.
        In order to ascertain whether there is any force in my front, I ordered a strong patrol to go to Edwards by 3 a.m., and feel the enemy at all hazards.
        Since this morning I heard different contraband rumors of the approach of several regiments; but, in spite of all vigilance, I could not get any reliable information, though I feel confident that there is something about to happen. You will kindly remember that I have five regiments, in the average not over 250 men each, and not a very formidable force against a real attempt on the part of the enemy to cross the river. I learn that the Second Brigade (Colonel Lindsey) is also withdrawn from the front. Would it be feasible to have him join me here? For many reasons it would be very desirable.
        The ambulances you sent yesterday to bring over Hovey's wounded from Champion's Hill are still here, as I considered it very unsafe to let them go over without an understanding with the Confederate States commander in that region. I dispatched a flag of truce to get the consent; the officer bearing it left here yesterday after dinner, and has not yet returned. I ordered him to go until he found the proper officer, and I am expecting the flag back since noon. The decision in the matter I will report at once.

Very respectfully, I am, your obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Big Black River Railroad Bridge, Miss., June 7, 1863.

Lieut. Col. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Tennessee.

        COLONEL: Yesterday night, by 9.30 o'clock, my pickets beyond the river, on the Edwards Station road, were attacked by some rebel force. There was quite lively firing for some time, and the commander of my picket considered it prudent to fall back on the infantry picket at bayou bridge, in the line of the rifle-pits on the other side. The enemy, which I found out since was the Eighth Kentucky Mounted Infantry, did not follow up, and this morning at 4 o'clock my cavalry was at Edwards, and report that they were in camp 3 miles beyond.
        Under instructions of Major-General McClernand, I sent, on Friday last, a flag of truce into the enemy's lines, in order to procure from the Confederate States commander his consent to remove General Hovey's wounded from Champion's Hill into our lines. Lieutenant Foster, the bearer of the flag, returned at this moment. He was within 6 miles of Jackson when his letter was taken from him, to be taken to Jackson. The lieutenant was then escorted back, and an early reply to my request promised.
        Lieutenant Foster states that he met no other troops this side of the point where he was halted, except the Eighth Kentucky (mounted); but, from all information collected, there seems to be a considerable force at Jackson, under General Breckinridge, who either superseded General Loring or is his superior in rank.
        The people seem to be in high glee, and sanguine that the rebels will soon be in number strong enough to raise the siege. Of General Johnston, I hear that he is still at Canton, preparing for an attempt to break off our river communications north of Vicksburg.
        I inclose three letters. They are rather sweet, but at least No. 3 is of some interest. They were intercepted by an orderly of my staff, and opened. I believe they were smuggled out by some member of the Eighth Kentucky, and, as appears from one envelope inclosed, directed to Yazoo City.
There was a rumor near Jackson yesterday that an official telegram from Richmond had arrived, stating that General Lee had crossed the Rappahannock.

I am, colonel, with great respect, your very obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Big Black River Railroad Bridge, Miss., June 7, 1863.

JOHN A. McCLERNAND,
Major-General, Commanding.

        GENERAL: Your favor of this morning is received. You will please excuse if the description is not definite enough as to the ground where the attack was made yesterday night. Bayou bridge is across the bayou, in front of the rebel breastworks beyond Big Black, and the bridge burned on the 17th when the enemy evacuated the works was reconstructed by our pioneers, and is situated in the line of the works. From information collected since, it was the Eighth Kentucky Mounted Infantry which ran against my cavalry pickets, who fell back on the infantry grand guard at the above bridge, which post was at once re-enforced by two companies of reserves. The rebels, finding us prepared for them, retired, and my cavalry followed them up.
        At 3 a.m. this day my patrol was at Edwards Station again, and report the Eighth Kentucky still falling back, probably for their place of rendezvous near Bolton. This information is substantiated by Lieutenant Foster, the bearer of the flag of truce which I mentioned yesterday.
        The lieutenant met on his return trip the Eighth Kentucky 3 miles east of Edwards.
        In regard to the result of the expedition of Lieutenant Foster, I have to say that he came within 6 miles of Jackson, where his dispatch was taken from him and forwarded to headquarters of General Breckinridge, who now commands, and is at Jackson in lieu of General Loring. After some time, Lieutenant Foster got answer that the general commanding division, as to my request (the removal of the wounded), would be made known to me very soon, and then he was escorted back to our lines, where he arrived a short time ago. Lieutenant Foster met only the Eighth Kentucky this side of Jackson. He found the people sanguine as to the result of the threatened attack of General Johnston on our army. The latter general is still at Canton, evidently having and collecting a large force. His intention is said to be to break off our river connection north of Vicksburg. There was a rumor at Jackson of an official telegram having been received there yesterday to the effect that General Lee had crossed the Rappahannock. I keep up the most stringent system of guards and patrols all along the river up and down, and I can say that there is no vestige of any other enemy than the Eighth Kentucky.
        You will permit me to repeat my opinion, that the cavalry force at my disposal is utterly inadequate to guard against and repel any attack the enemy might attempt. There ought to be a strong force established at Bridgeport, to watch and defend the very exposed ferry there and three practicable fords north of it. I consider an attack in that direction more likely than here, because all roads for and from Vicksburg converge there, and from the bend in the river its left flank well secured, and its lines of retreat both northeast and east open, there being several very good parallel roads, and the river passable by the three practicable fords.

I am, general, with great esteem, your most obedient servant,
D. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Big Black River, Miss., June 7, 1863.

Major-General McCLERNAND,
Commanding Thirteenth Army Corps.

        GENERAL: Since writing you by your return orderly, Major [Samuel] Montgomery, with a detachment of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry, which I had sent out to Edwards to feel the enemy, has returned. He found six companies of the rebel Twentieth Mississippi (mounted) on the place indicated, i.e., 3 miles beyond Edwards Station, on the Raymond road. On the approach of the Sixth Missouri, the rebels left in a southern direction, and Major Montgomery, learning from some contrabands that they in all probability would take the Hall's Ferry road, immediately returned to Edwards and made for the same ferry. This being a shorter cut, our men soon came up with the rebels, and, after some firing, charged them, breaking their line, one part running by a by-road toward Hall's Ferry, the other toward Utica.
        Two prisoners fell into our hands, whom I will forward to your headquarters to-morrow morning. The major (Montgomery) says that he could not secure more, these fellows being better mounted than he expected.
        You remember my statement a few days since that some rebel cavalry had crossed the Big Black somewhere north near General Blair's command. This is substantiated by the prisoners, who say that four companies of their regiment, under Major Rorer, are in that region. If nothing happens, I go to Bridgeport tomorrow morning in order to collect some in formation.

With great respect, I am, general, your obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Big Black, Miss., June 7, 1863.

Lieut. Col. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Tennessee.

        COLONEL: A short time after my dispatch of this morning had left, I received reliable information that the Eighth Kentucky Mounted Infantry, which attacked us last night, had been re-enforced by the Twentieth and Twenty-second Mississippi Mounted Infantry, and that they were encamped at the creek, 3 miles beyond Edwards Station. Large bodies of negroes appeared at my lines, affirming the above report and speaking of more troops appearing.
        To come to the fact in these informations, I ordered so much of the cavalry as I could make available, about 100 men and one section of mounted howitzers, to march to Edwards and beyond, and feel the enemy.
        They left here by noon, under Major [Samuel] Montgomery, and found at the place indicated a rebel camp. On the approach of my troops, the rebels left in a southern direction. Contrabands thought they would go to Baker's or Fourteen-Mile Creek, toward Hall's Ferry. The major (Montgomery) at once returned to Edwards Station, and look then a more direct road for Hall's Ferry. He soon came up with the rebel force, and ordered the attack. After some firing, during which the rebels tried to form, the Sixth Missouri charged, and ran their force 4 miles, when the Confederates dispersed in two parties, one taking a byroad for Hall's Ferry, the other the Utica road. Finding that the fellows were better mounted than anticipated, the major halted and returned.
        He arrived here at 6.30 p.m., with 2 prisoners. They say that there were six companies (in the aggregate, at least 300 strong) of the Twentieth Mississippi Mounted Infantry in today's skirmish on their side, which were dispersed by 100 of the Sixth Missouri. They further state that the Twenty-second Mississippi and Eighth Kentucky Infantry were in their vicinity, but that the four companies belonging to the Twentieth Mississippi were detached under Major Rorer, and operating west of the Big Black. They had left Canton some time ago for Benton and the Yazoo. You will remember that this statement corroborates the information transmitted in my letter of June 4. The prisoners could or would not tell anything relative to the movements of other rebel troops, but I will try again to-morrow morning to pump them.
        If had a little more cavalry, I have no doubt that the surprise and capture of a number of these mounted troops were feasible.

Awaiting your orders, I am, with great esteem, your very obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS NINTH DIVISION,
Big Black, Miss., June 7, 1863--6 p.m.

Maj. Gen. JOHN A. McCLERNAND,
Commanding Thirteenth Army Corps.

        GENERAL: Your dispatch of 1.45 o'clock has just come to hand. I sent you by orderly this forenoon all the news since yesterday night's attack. The orderly must have tarried somewhere, as the letter ought to have been at your headquarters by dinner time. By this time he has, no doubt, delivered my letter.
        Colonel Wright, with about 200 men, is with me, and I had the honor to report his arrival some ten days since.
        Since I wrote you this a.m. I received further and reliable news from the front. Besides the Eighth Kentucky Mounted Infantry, which I reported this morning 3 miles beyond Edwards Station, the Twentieth and Twenty-second Mississippi Mounted Infantry have made their appearance also in that direction, encamping on Baker's Creek. One detachment of them (five companies) came within 3 miles of my headquarters. They proclaim themselves loudly the advance guard of large bodies of infantry on their march for this point.
        To ascertain everything more perfectly, I detailed Colonel Wright's command, with two howitzers, to proceed at once to Edwards and feel the enemy. I only learned since he left that he got as far as Edwards, and am expecting further intelligence momentarily. I shall not fail to inform you of anything I learn. The large number of pickets which is necessary to guard this avenue make the increase of my infantry and cavalry most desirable; the duties are very hard on the command here now.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Big Black, Miss., June 8, 1863.

Lieut. Col. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Tennessee.

        COLONEL: After the hard ride which the Twentieth Mississippi was compelled to take yesterday afternoon, the Eighth Kentucky made its appearance this morning. They formed in sight of my pickets on the Edwards Station road, and opened fire; but being unable to make my vedettes fall back, they retired on their part again, leaving 1 man in our hands. He gives almost verbatim the same story of re-enforcements arriving to General Johnston's army, in the vicinity of Canton, as the prisoners of yesterday--in fact, as everybody does coming from beyond the Big Black; the people are undoubtedly fed upon that hopeful prospect.
        The present informant adds that an attack would be made simultaneously by Johnston on Snyder's Bluff, and by Breckinridge on the position here, and that it was to be looked for soon.
        This morning I visited the Bridgeport Ferry and the Macon Ford, and I can say that an access from that direction is rather difficult; the roads are very effectually blocked. There is no ferry and no chance to cross the Big Black between the railroad and Bridgeport, no landing and no roads leading to the river between those two points. Macon Ford is about 1 miles north of Bridgeport. I found several boats and ropes there, which I had destroyed and taken off. The road leading to the ford, being beyond my rayon, is pretty good, but a working party will be sent out this night to destroy it.

With great respect, I am, your obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

(Copy sent to Lieut. Col. W. B. Scates, assistant adjutant-general Thirteenth Army Corps.)


HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Big Black, Miss., June 9, 1863--1 p.m.

Lieut. Col. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Tennessee.

        COLONEL: Major [Samuel] Montgomery, who is in command of the detachment of cavalry and mountain howitzers sent out to the ford north of Bridgeport (as stated in my dispatch of this morning), reports that he fell in with a pretty large force of rebel mounted troops, and that he took a position where he thought he could hold his own. About 150 rebels attempted to flank, but the major succeeded in repelling them. He sent through for all the cavalry left here, and I complied with his request, which gives him not over 150 men, besides his two mountain howitzers.
        At the same time I forwarded one regiment of infantry to the Bovina Bridgeport road, and took the necessary steps to guard against an attack on my left flank.
        My patrols to Edwards just returned. Found no sign of any enemy there, and it strikes me that the concentration of the mounted rebel forces, which were in my front yesterday, is very likely at the fords, where they can cross the river without molestation.
A force sent out from Haynes' Bluff could cut off the retreat of any rebels on this side of the river.

I am, colonel, with great respect, your obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS NINTH DIVISION,
Big Black, Miss., June 9, 1863.

Lieut. Col. WALTER B. SCATES,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Thirteenth Army Corps.

        COLONEL: Since writing you this morning, I received information that a number of rebels were crossing and had crossed Big Black at Messinger's or Macon Fords, some miles north of Bridgeport Ferry, where my rayon terminates north. I at once started Major Montgomery with two companies of cavalry and one section of artillery (mountain howitzers) to re-enforce my pickets in that direction, and just now he informs me that he fell in with several hundred rebel mounted troops. The major took a position, which the enemy tried to flank, but he succeeded in driving him back, and thinks he can hold his position if re-enforced by all available cavalry. Without any delay I started the last man of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry, at the same time taking such measures to receive the cavalry, if forced to fall back, and to secure my left flank.
        It is of the highest importance to have a permanent, light, and very available column established between Bridgeport and Oak Ridge Ferries, where the river is fordable at many places. To protect these points from here with the cavalry at my disposal is impossible. A cavalry three moving down to the Messinger's Ford from Haynes' Bluff would cut off every rebel on this side of the Big Black.

I am, colonel, with high esteem, your very obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS NINTH DIVISION,
Big Black River Bridge, Miss., June 10, 1863

Lieut. Col. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Tennessee.

        COLONEL: Your dispatch of yesterday was received in due time, and I feel very much obliged for your kind and immediate attention to my request.
        A small detachment of the Third Illinois and one company of the First Indiana (escort companies) arrived in the night, and the Second Illinois Cavalry is reported in the vicinity; they will be here this evening.
        Major [Samuel] Montgomery, in command of the Sixth Missouri, sent out in pursuit of a rebel force, returned just now (2 p.m.), and reports that they were the same companies of the Twentieth Mississippi which were at Grant's house and in the Oak Ridge region for some time. After having received the re-enforcements, Major Montgomery advanced and followed up the enemy as far as Birdsong Ferry, at which crossing, or by the fords near by, he lost sight of them. The major is most positive that there is no rebel left on the west side of the river between Birdsong and this point
        Of course, I ordered the escort companies mentioned above to return to their respective headquarters, and I feel very certain that, with the addition of the Second Illinois to my cavalry force, and with the detachment of General Washburn's cavalry north of Bridgeport, we are perfectly able to keep the rebels on the other side of the Big Black.
        The information brought in by Major Montgomery is that General Johnston is not moving, and not even expected to move forward soon; that, on the contrary, some of his forces had been withdrawn. I believe, though, that this news ought to be received cum grano salis.
        I inclose a letter brought in by flag of truce.(*) The request seems to 'me an extraordinary one, and I refused to grant it, promising, though, to lay it before the major-general commanding the department, for his action. In doing so, I request him to give me his decision for communication to Colonel [H. B.] Lyon, if the general should not approve of my denial.
        By the way, I have to state that this Colonel Lyon is described as overbearing, and toward our wounded at Champion's Hill a very rude character.

I am, colonel, with great respect, your obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,
Big Black River Bridge, Miss., June 12, 1863.

Lieut. Col. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Tennessee.

        COLONEL: I ordered the commander of my picket at Bridgeport this morning to communicate with the cavalry stationed above Bridgeport, in order to perfect the guarding of the river. Captain Morris, Sixth Missouri Cavalry, who is in command of the post there, just now reports as follows:
        Sergeant [Theodore B.] Robinson, in charge of the patrol, went to the Widow Hill's, 9 miles from this point (Bridgeport picket station). He heard from all that Colonel Swan was there last night, blockading the road, and left about dark, intending to go to camp at Haynes' Bluff. He has not come back to-day.
        On the sergeant's return he ran into a squad of about 15 rebels at Birdsong Ferry; they exchanged shots, and the rebels retired-across the river, where there are larger forces. The sergeant had one of his (9) men slightly wounded and took 2 prisoners. I will send them to your headquarters to-morrow morning, as they are very talkative. They say that General Forrest, with his rebel cavalry, is at Mechanicsburg, and that another part of his force was expected to-day to form a junction with him at or near the said town. The whole command is estimated at 4,000 men.
        The prisoners, of course, report the story that Johnston, with 30,000, is moving on Yazoo River. Big Black, in consequence of the late rains, was swollen considerably, but is receding rapidly again--so much so that, in the opinion of Captain Morris, the fords at Messinger's and near Birdsong Ferries are practicable again. Therefore, I re-enforced the captain by another company, in the expectation, though, that sonic of General Washburn's cavalry will relieve my men there to-morrow.
        I hear from my Edwards Station patrol that two new mounted regiments, the Sixteenth and Third Mississippi, are in the vicinity of Bolton and Raymond. This seems to corroborate the above statement that the rebel cavalry force had been increased. To meet emergencies, I am constructing some breastworks defending the crossing of the river here. I shall lay the plan before you in a day or two. Having but a very limited number of contrabands here for that kind of work, I would be very glad to have about 100 more negroes from the organizing regiments temporarily detached to assist my working party. If such a detail could be granted, the men would have to bring tools along.

I am, colonel, with great esteem, your obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Big Black River, Miss., June 14, 1863.

Lieut. Col. WALTER B. SCATES,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        COLONEL: Your favor of yesterday was received. The men reported to have been found in the swamps between Mr. Hines' and Mrs. Stower's, on the Hall's Ferry (Vicksburg) road, are, in my opinion, the same men whom my patrols had seen some days ago. There are only three or four of them, and they are disconnected from any rebel command.
        Though the present stage of the river is such that the greatest vigilance is necessary to protect against a sudden attack of the enemy, it becomes fordable almost at any place. The Hall's Ferry (Mount Alban and Vicksburg) road does not belong to my beat. If I understood your instructions correctly, it is in Lauman's care. The distance from here to Baldwin's Ferry is fully 12 miles, and to the indicated place near Hall's Ferry is 12 more. For the small force of cavalry the duty is most severe, as I have still to send my pickets north far beyond Bridgeport Ferry, being in that direction not yet supported by any of Washburn's cavalry.
        On the 12th, a patrol went as far as Birdsong Ferry, and on its return ran into a secesh squad. They exchanged shots. One of my men was slightly wounded, and then my patrol drove the rebels into the river, taking 2 prisoners.
        We heard that increased numbers were on the east side of Big Black. A party sent out yesterday, under one of my aides, went 10 miles beyond Bridgeport Ferry, and found the above statement correct. The regular patrol had quite a lively skirmish with some rebel force across the river, and killed 1 man.
        The prisoners say that General Forrest, with 4,000 men, is in command across the river; their intended point of assembly in Mechanicsburg. At present (i.e., on the 12th) the cavalry was partly stationed at Bolton, Clinton, and on the Canton and Bridgeport road. Some were said to be at the above villages already.
        You undoubtedly admit that this complexion of things makes the cavalry duty very hard indeed. The arrival of three small companies of the Second Illinois, under Major Marsh, did not bring much relief, and the early arrival of the remainder of Lieutenant-Colonel Bush's command is, therefore, anxiously expected.

I am, colonel, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Big Black River Railroad Bridge, Miss., June 17, 1863.

Lieut. Col. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Dept. of the Tennessee, Vicksburg, Miss.

        COLONEL: Since my last the complexion of things on my front has not changed. Rebel cavalry is appearing at every point permitting access on the eastern river bank, occasionally exchanging shots with my pickets. Yesterday a large force attempted to drive in the vedettes on the Edwards Station road, but was readily repulsed by the reserve pickets. In general, there is no menacing attempt made as yet. This morning a very intelligent contraband, George McCloud, came into our lines, who had left Demopolis, Ala., on the 14th, Meridian on the 15th, and arrived in Jackson that same day. Yesterday morning he left Jackson for our lines. The negro was employed in the arsenal at Demopolis, and understands the making of all wood work connected with the ordnance department. He can read and write. This man states that the whole force at Jackson does not exceed 3,000 men, and the army collected and collecting by Johnston at Canton he heard estimated by leading officers at 15,000 effective men at the outside, with no prospect to swell it beyond 20,000. He describes the people and soldiers, including officers, in very low spirits as to the success of the Southern cause. The theme of raising the siege of Vicksburg is freely discussed on all sides, but no hopes are entertained that their threes will be in condition or in number equal to meet the Federal army. Notwithstanding these doubts, the negro says that great preparations are made for the relief of General Pemberton. Large quantities of ammunition and ordnance stores were forwarded from Demopolis to General Johnston, and from the general run of conversation he thinks that an attack will be made within a very few days on the right flank of our lines, with a view to give Pemberton a chance to break through the investing army.
        I will send the negro to your headquarters to-morrow morning, deeming him an interesting, perhaps a useful, man--perhaps a rogue. I had telegraphic communication with the wires to your headquarters and everything ready for the expected operator, when this morning some officer of another corps, passing Mount Alban with a squad of cavalry, cut down the wire and the poles. The citizens informed the officer that the telegraph was put up only the day before by our soldiers, but he would not listen to any such stuff. I hope to have the line up again by to-morrow night. The railroad track between here and Vicksburg is also repaired again, and a flat car constructed from the ruins on the east side of the river is put on the track. Four mules, in lieu of locomotive, form an essential addition to my transportation.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS NINTH DIVISION,
Big Black River Railroad Bridge, Miss., June 21, 1863.

Maj. Gen. E. O. C. ORD,
Commanding Thirteenth Army Corps, Vicksburg, Miss.

        GENERAL: Favored by your dispatch of yesterday, I ordered a strong patrol to scour all the country from this place to Hall's Ferry, on Big Black River, in co-operation with Lieutenant-Colonel Bush's party, which, under your instructions, will search the lowlands from Hall's Ferry down Big Black, and up the Mississippi to Warrenton. My patrol will visit all points where the river is accessible and affords any chance of crossing. Immediately on its return I will report the result. I keep constant pickets at Baldwin's Ferry, and maintain a system of patrols from the bridge here to that ferry, and thence to Hall's Ferry, where Lieutenant-Colonel Bush's battalion is ordinarily stationed. From the information I regularly receive from these points, I dare say that there are only a very few straggling rebels on the Mississippi side of Big Black, if any. There is a force somewhere on Fourteen-Mile Creek, to watch the southern avenues to Vicksburg, and the river being fordable in many places, a few men may venture over, but no force of any consequence will appear on the west side of the stream.
        All the threes of the enemy in my front are mounted infantry, of the Third, Sixteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-second Mississippi, and Eighth Kentucky, under Acting Brigadier-[General] Lyon, exceeding, altogether, not 2,500 men. They are of no desperate description, but they make their appearance at almost any point from Bridgeport Ferry to Baldwin's Ferry, and are busily engaged, besides so watching our movements, in collecting negroes and articles of subsistence.
        Prisoners taken in several skirmishes my men had with them pretend a large regular cavalry force (4,000 or 5,000 men)had arrived from Bragg's army, and was encamped near Brownsville or Clinton, but scouts sent out in these directions do not confirm the prisoners' statement. In relation to other rebel forces, I have no news worthy of notice since the 17th instant. General Johnston was then still at and near Canton, his force numbering 15,000 effective men at the outside. He was making great efforts to swell his numbers, ordering all available troops to join him. At Jackson he left not over 3,000 men, but there are serious doubts if he can collect over 20,000. The cavalry was compelled to disperse, and take up such quarters where they can find forage. The intention of General Johnston's army to attempt an attack on our Vicksburg army is proclaimed by everybody, but even the most decided rebels do not appear to be sanguine of his success.
        I shall take great pleasure, general, to inform you instantly of anything which may happen on my front. I embrace this opportunity to repeat a request made some time ago, namely, to order the Forty-second Ohio and Twenty-second Kentucky, now in the rear of Vicksburg, and the One hundred and fourteenth Ohio Infantry, now at Warrenton, all belonging to the Ninth Division, to join me at this point. From the long line to be guarded, and from the nature of the terrain, the duties for the infantry here are very severe. The regiments, being in themselves very small, are daily reduced in number by sickness, and an addition to the effective strength now with me would be very desirable.

I have the honor, general, to be, with g, eat respect, your very obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


BIG BLACK, June 22, 1863.

General Grant

        A dispatch from Bridgeport, come in at this moment, reports that 125 men of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, stationed near Messinger's, were attacked by 500 rebel cavalry and badly cut up, and about 40 men of the Iowa cavalry were either killed, wounded, or captured; also one small gun was taken by the enemy. Our cavalry were blockading the road when they were surprised.

OSTERHAUS.


BLACK RIVER, June 22, 1863.

Major-General GRANT,
(Through General Ord.)

        The commanders of the different pickets have just reported all quiet on the Jackson road. My patrol found a rebel cavalry squad near Edwards Station; fired at it and drove it to Baker's Creek, where the officer considered it prudent to desist the chase, the woods being reported full of rebels. There is no regular camp this side of Champion's Hill.
        Yesterday a regiment of rebels passed Edwards Station, going south. It has not yet returned. It is undoubtedly the same troops which were observed by my patrols on the Baldwin's Ferry road, on east side of river. Nobody living any more between here and Champion's Hill who could give any information; even negroes are secesh.

P. J. OSTERHAUS.


BIG BLACK, June 22, 1863.

Major-General GRANT,
(Through General Ord.)

Colonel Wright, commanding the Missouri cavalry now opposite Bridgeport, [reports] in relation to the fight this p.m. as follows:
        The fight of the Fourth Iowa was near the junction of Bridgeport and Vicksburg and Jones' Ferry roads. Four companies of Fourth Iowa were blockading Vicksburg and Jones' Ferry road when some 600 or 800 rebels charged on them. The rebels crossed the river at Jones' or Birdsong crossing. My men have reconnoitered 2 miles up the river, and found all quiet at present. My impression is that the rebels have recrossed the river. I anticipate no trouble to-night, but may have to-morrow. I shall be on the alert.
        The Forty-second Ohio and four companies of Twenty-second Kentucky Infantry, under Colonel Lindsey, have just arrived.

OSTERHAUS.


HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
June 22, 1863.

Capt. S.S. SEWARD,
Aide-de-Camp, Thirteenth Army Corps.

        CAPTAIN: Your favor of this p.m., including duplicate telegram from General Grant, is just received (5.20). My telegram in relation to a rebel attack on some four companies of Iowa cavalry north of Bridgeport is undoubtedly received by you. I sent the whole of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry (200 strong) to Bridgeport Ferry, with orders to reestablish connection with the forces north of that point and with the advancing column of General Sherman.
        Big Black is fordable now at many places between Bridgeport and Birdsong Ferries, and there is no doubt that the above-mentioned rebel force availed itself of these practicable crossings and dashed on our small force, which, perhaps, had not taken all the precautionary measures to guard against such surprise.
        It will be very important to have the now broken-up station re-established by another stronger force. The cavalry at Bridgeport and here is too small to withstand an energetic attack or to extend still more the line of guard assigned to me, i.e., from Bridgeport to Baldwin's Ferry.
        The patrol sent out yesterday to connect with Colonel Bush have returned. They had to go as far as Hankinson's Ferry before they found the colonel. They did not meet any signs of an enemy.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


BIG BLACK, June 23, 1863.

        A large body of cavalry appeared in front of position across Big Black, on and near Smith's plantation.

OSTERHAUS.
General GRANT.


BIG BLACK, June 25, 1863.

General GRANT,
(Through General Ord.)

        All quiet. Scouts from the east side of river report a picket (60 men) near Bridgeport, and a camp 2 miles back of Messinger's. Other cavalry is stationed at Queen's Hill Church, and north and south of Bolton. This statement is corroborated by that of a deserter of the Sixth Texas Cavalry, who came into my line yesterday, and gives the cavalry force in this vicinity as follows: First Texas Legion, 160 strong; Third Texas Cavalry, 300 strong; Sixth Texas Cavalry, 250 strong; Ninth Texas Cavalry, 250 strong; total 960 men, under General [J. W.] Whitfield. There is another cavalry brigade (Mississippians), about 2,000 strong, stationed near Big Black, on the direct road from Canton to Haynes' Bluff. Vernon east [north?] of this. Two brigades one rifled 6-pounder gun and one 12-pounder howitzer with it. I don't anticipate attack at present. The section of artillery has reported, and is stationed at Bovina.

OSTERHAUS.


HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Camp Keigwin, June 26, 1863.

Maj. Gen. WILLIAM T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Fifteenth Army Corps.

        GENERAL: In receipt of your favor of to-day. I fully appreciate your opinion relative to the intentions of General Johnston, and, notwithstanding there is no sign of an immediate attack, my guards and precautions will be kept up as strictly as possible, to give me timely warning of any change that may take place.
        A few minutes ago I returned from Baldwin's Ferry and from the picket beyond, connecting my vedettes there with those at Hall's Ferry. I found everything quiet, and the arrangements there satisfactory. The standing pickets and vedettes are regularly, and at least three times a day and night, visited by a system of patrols along the river bank and the public road.
        There are three stationary vedettes north of the bridge here to Bridgeport Ferry--at Brooks', Crooker's, and Hooker's plantations, and besides a patrol, under a very energetic officer. All these points, and all others on the river, are visited several times in twenty-four hours.
        The blockade is getting as perfect as it can be made. I instructed Colonel Wright, at Bridgeport Ferry, to make the closest connection with the Fourth Iowa, and gave him a copy of such parts of your kind letter as will enable him to render the fullest co-operation to execute your instructions.
        If you have a draughtsman with your headquarters, and would be kind enough to have me a copy made of a map exhibiting the roads and principal points in the section north of Bridgeport, it would be a very great help to me, and in an emergency would render my command more effective.

With great respect, I am, general, your most obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


JUNE 29, 1863.

Major-General GRANT,
(Through General Ord.)

        General McArthur s [troops] are exchanging shots with rebels across the river at Messinger's Ford, and my pickets at Bridgeport have been also fighting since 10 a.m. No attempt made, as yet, by enemy to cross the river. My pickets are still on the river bank.

OSTERHAUS.


BIG BLACK, July 1, 1863.

General GRANT,
(Through General Ord.)

A mounted infantry patrol, sent out this morning on Edwards Station road, was fired into near that place. Men dismounted and attacked (the enemy was about 50 strong, infantry and some mounted men), and drove them beyond Edwards Station. Lieutenant Sample of the One hundred and eighteenth Illinois Mounted Infantry, was severely, and two men, wounded. The enemy's loss not known.

OSTERHAUS.


BIG BLACK RIVER, July 3, 1863.

General GRANT.

Colonel Wright reports the following:

        I caught one of Breckinridge's men to-day, and learn from him that Breckinridge arrived at Bolton last night, with 7,000 troops and large supply train. Johnston is moving from above to form junction with B., the prisoner thinks, in my front, and will arrive at or near the river to-night. Whitfield's cavalry moved from Bolton last night as Breckinridge arrived. The prisoner thinks they moved to the right, but does not know.

P. J. OSTERHAUS.


HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Big Black, Miss., July 3, 1863.

General U.S. GRANT,
Commanding Department of the Tennessee, Vicksburg.

        GENERAL: I send you the prisoner whom I mentioned in my telegraphic dispatch of this p.m. He was a lieutenant in a Louisiana regiment, and was to be mustered out in consequence of the consolidation of his regiment, and be drafted again as a private. Such is the story he gives for the cause of his desertion.
        He reports Breckinridge 7,000 strong (five brigades, each with one six-gun battery). Of the whereabouts and strength of Johnston's army he knew nothing reliable. Of the contemplated attack he is also ignorant.

With great respect, I am, general, your obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier General, Commanding.


HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Big Black, Miss., July 3, 1863.

Brig. Gen. JOHN MCARTHUR,
Commanding Sixth Division.

        GENERAL: I give you, in this inclosure, copy of a dispatch just received from Colonel Wright. I ordered a picket to remain for this night on the river opposite Crooker's Ferry. There may be a probability that it was that picket which was heard, but I have no means to ascertain as yet. Your command being in the immediate vicinity of Colonel Wright's position, 1 beg leave to request, in case of an emergency, your kind support. I ordered Colonel Wright to apprise you of anything that may transpire on his front, and I will do the same from here. I think Vicksburg will be ours to-morrow morning.

With great respect, I am, your most obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General.

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