James B. McPherson Letter


Headquarters, Seventeenth Army Corps                   
Vicksburg, Miss., November 9, 1863

Maj. E. D. OSBAND, 
     Commanding Battalion Fourth Illinois Cavalry: 

     MAJOR: You will proceed to-morrow morning with your command, including the colored men whom you have enlisted, to Haynes' Bluff by land, where a steam-boat will be in readiness to ferry you across the Yazoo River. From that point you will make a scout up through the country west of the Yazoo and through the Deer Creek country, to break up and destroy and bands of the enemy whom you may hear of, and finally cross to Skipwith's Landing1, where you will establish your camp and recruit your colored regiment. During the expedition you will, of course, gather up what colored men you can, who are fit for the service, to fill up your regiment. You will refrain as far as possible form molesting or interfering with citizens who are well disposed toward the U. S. Government and who are remaining quietly at their homes. Especially in the vicinity of Skipwith's Landing are many loyal people who are not to be disturbed and whose families and property you will protect2.

     The steam-boat Chenango will be at Haynes' Bluff shortly after your arrival to ferry you across the river. You will leave your quartermaster and a detail of men to load your stores, camp and garrison equipage, and transportation on board steam-boat here to be sent to Skipwith's Landing. 

     You will make the required returns and reports to these headquarters, and keep me advised of everything important which may come to your knowledge. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

JAS. B. McPHERSON,      
Major-General. 


Source:
THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A COMPILATION OF THE OFFICIAL RECORDS OF THE UNION AND CONFEDERATE ARMIES PREPARED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR, BY BVT. LIEUT. COL. ROBERT N. SCOTT, THIRD U.S. ARTILLERY AND PUBLISHED PURSUANT TO ACT OF CONGRESS APPROVED JUNE 16, 1880.
The US Government Printing Office
Volume: XXXI: Page 105

Notes:
1 Skipwith's Landing is located in the northern part of Issaquena County on the Mississippi River, northwest of Mayersville.
2  Apparently orders such as these were not carried out. Issaquena County resident, Mary Duncan, wife of Henry P. Duncan (1860 Issaquena County Federal Census, page 5, family 51), a unionist, wrote a lengthy letter to Abraham Lincoln, describing the adverse conditions the Union Army subjected them to.



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