July 7th, 1863.—I did not enjoy quiet long. First came Martha, who announced her intention of going to search for her sons, as she was free now. I was hardly able to stand since the severe cold taken in the cave that night, but she would not wait a day. A colored woman came in wanting a place, and said she had asked her mistress for wages and her mistress had turned her out. I was in no condition to stand upon ceremony then, and engaged her at once, but hear to-day that I am thoroughly pulled to pieces in Vicksburg circles; there is no more salvation for me. Next came two Federal officers and wanted rooms and board. To have some protection was a necessity; both armies were still in town, and for the past three days every Confederate soldier I see has a cracker in his hand. There is hardly any water in town, no prospect of rain, and the soldiers have emptied one cistern in the yard already and begun on the other. The colonel put a guard at the gate to limit the water given. Next came the owner of the house and said we must move; he wanted the house, but it was so big he’d just bring his family in; we could stay till we got one. They brought boarders with them too, and children. Men are at work all over the house shoveling up the plaster before repairing. Upstairs they are pouring it by bucketfuls through the windows. Colonel D. brought work for H. to help with from headquarters. Making out the paroles and copying them has taken so long they wanted help. I am surprised and mortified to find that two-thirds of all the men who have signed made their mark; they cannot write. I never thought there was so much ignorance in the South. One of the men at headquarters took a fancy to H. and presented him with a portfolio, that he said he had captured when the Confederates evacuated their headquarters at Jackson. It contained mostly family letters written in French, and a few official papers. Among them was the following note, which I will copy here, and file away the original as a curiosity when the war is over.
HEADQUARTERS DEPT. OF TENN.
TUPELO, AUG 6, 1862.
Capt.: The Major-General Commanding directs me to say that he submits it altogether to your own discretion whether you make the attempt to capture General Grant or not. While the exploit would be very brilliant if successful, you must remember that failure might be disastrous to you and your men. The General commends your activity and energy and expects you to continue to show these qualities.
I am, very respectfully, yr. obt. svt.
Thomas L. Snead, A.A.G.
CAPT. GEO. L. BAXTER,
Commanding Beaureguard Scouts.