CAMP BEFORE VICKSBURG, April 10, 1863.
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Mr. Dana is here. He spent a few hours with me yesterday, and I went over with him many of the events of the past year, with the maps and records with which I am well supplied. Indeed, all look to me for maps and facts. Dana remarked to one of Grant's staff incidentally, that he was better pleased with me than he could possibly have expected. In the two days he has been here he has seen an illustration of the truth of my proposition, which has drawn on me such volumes of abuse. We have had thousands of men working by night, putting batteries as close up to Vicksburg as possible, secretly, and in opening a channel by which we may in high water reach the river twenty-five miles below Vicksburg. Secrecy was essential, but the papers of Memphis announce the whole fact. I know the Memphis dailies go before daylight each day to Hernando, 25 miles, and are telegraphed to Vicksburg by noon of the same day. Indeed, the day before yesterday we met some Vicksburg officers, who asked that I should come with a flag of truce to discuss a point as to exchange of prisoners, and as we parted, one, a Major Watts, asked me not to open our batteries (the secret) last night, as he was going to have a party and did not want to be disturbed. . . .
Nothing can prevent the fatal practice, but excluding all men from our camp but men who must fight. They at least have a personal interest in what should be revealed and what concealed. . . .
W. T. SHERMAN.
SOURCE: Rachel Sherman Thorndike, Editor, The Sherman letters: correspondence between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, p. 198-9