On Jan. 4, McPherson wrote twice to USG. "The recent rains have raised the Tallahatchie and all the Streams running into it very much, and the former is still rising. The water is running over the center of the lower Bridge, and washing away the abutment of the upper one. They are both so far gone that Teams cannot cross. Col Leggett's Brigade is on this side with all his Transportation, though he left a small quantity of Forage, which we can get over on rafts or the R. Road Bridge. The question of Forage is becoming a very serious one. We have man- aged thus far to get plenty of Corn, but fodder or long forage is very scarce, and all the Animals are suffering and many of them dying for the want of it. Unless the roads dry up very rapidly, it will be impossible to keep up the supply of corn for the command, if it remains at this point. I shall send Col Hatch's Regiment over to the westward beyond Wyatt. Col Prince's to the Eastward near Tippah Creek, and let Col Grierson remain in the vicinity of Waterford for the present as Forage is much more abundant there than here." Copy, ibid., RG 393, 17th Army Corps, Letters Sent. "My command will march to the vicinity of Holly Springs to-morrow. Shall I destroy the railroad bridge over the Tallahatchie ? I understand that I cannot leave a force of infantry here, but have Colonel Leggett's brigade march back as far as Lumpkin's Mill at least, and then follow on after everything there and at Waterford has been removed." O.R., I, xvii, part 2, 533. On the same day, USG telegraphed to McPherson. "I think it is not necessary to destroy the Tallahatchie bridge. The road is destroyed so far south that the enemy cannot use it for some time, and we may want it, at least we will keep up the appearance of wanting it. Move your whole force back however, leaving one Brigade at Lumpkins Mill's" Copies, DLC-USG, V, 18, 30; DNA, RG 393, Dept. of the Tenn., Letters Sent. O.R., I, xvii, part 2, 533.
Holly Springs Miss Jan. 4th, 1863,
BRIG GENL J B. MCPHERSON
If the report of Vicksburg being in our possession proves true I will fall back to the line of Memphis and Corinth at once There is no objection to your falling back to the Waterford and Tchulahoma road leaving a small force on the road near the river.
A long dispatch from Vicksburg on the 29th was Just received. Sherman had had a desperate fight in which he had lost 3.000 men killed and wounded, he had carried the enemys rifle pits and a