The Mississippi Expedition.
ON page 72 we publish, from a sketch by our Western correspondent, Mr. Alexander Simplot, a view of the departure from Cairo of the advance of the great Mississippi expedition, under General M'Clernand. The World correspondent writes
The expedition consists of a brigade, consisting of about 6000 men, under General M'Clernand, which was embarked on board transport steamers on Thursday and Friday, and ferried over to a point on the river seven miles below. It is called, from the name of an old Indian fort, Fort Jefferson, and is situated on the eastern shore of the Mississippi, at Mayfield creek, five miles below Fort Holt. Leaving the execrably muddy levee of Cairo on the fast little steamer, the Rob Roy, we followed the gun-boat Lexington on Saturday, and found the encampment at Fort Jefferson a very picturesque and convenient place, nearly opposite Norfolk. After noon guns were heard from the direction of Columbus, and Flag-Officer Foote, with Colonel Webster, proceeded immediately to the scene of probable action. Two of the gun-boats had escorted the transports to the rendezvous, and it was supposed some engagement was transpiring. The Lexington kept on beyond the encampment, and disappeared behind a point three miles below. After waiting for some hours the three gun-boats – Essex, St. Louis, Lexington, the transport Aleck Scott, and a small tug-boat – were seen coming up the river. The results of the expedition were soon made known. During the morning a rebel steamer had approached within sight of General M'Clernand's lines. Some of our pickets had discerned her approach and given the alarm. The gun-boats were at once cast off, but being rather slow, and a rising fog temporarily obscuring the rebel steamer, they could not overhaul her. The chase was continued to within two miles of Columbus, when the Grampus held up, with a view of enticing our boats under the guns of the batteries. Twenty or thirty shots were fired at her, but with uncertain effect. The gun-boats turned up stream, leaving the Confederates in their strong-hold. The smoke of our steamers might have been seen on the previous day from Columbus, and this reconnaissance was but a natural disposition on their part to discover what was the meaning of the movement down the river. The officers at Columbus had doubtless heard of the projected expedition to Nashville. This pushing down of troops five miles nearer their lines was enough to give them the cue for an advance.
A special dispatch to the Chicago Times, dated twelve miles from Columbus on the 16th, says an additional force, with General Grant and staff, left Cairo yesterday at 10 o'clock, and overtook M'Clernand's, Paine's, and Cook's columns during the afternoon.
The following order in relation to the expedition has been issued by General Grant
HEAD-QUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF CAIRO,
CAIRO, January 13, 1862.
GENERAL ORDER NO. 3.
During the absence of the expedition now starting, upon soil hitherto, occupied almost solely by the rebel army, and when it is a fair inference that every stranger is our enemy, the following orders will be observed:
Troops in marching will be kept in the ranks, company officers being held strictly accountable for all atragglers from their companies. No firing will be allowed in camp or on the march not strictly required in the performance of duty. While in camp, no permits will be granted to officers or soldiers to leave their regimental grounds, and all violations of this order must be promptly and summarily punished.
Disrepute having been brought upon our brave soldiers by the bad conduct of some of their numbers (showing, on all occasions when marching through territory occupied by sympathizers with the enemy, a total disregard of rights of citizens, and being guilty of wanton destruction of private property), the general commanding desires and intends to enforce a change in this respect. Interpreting confiscating acts by troops themselves has a demoralizing effect, and weakens them in exact proportion to the demoralization, and makes open and armed enemies of the many who, from opposite treatment, would become friends, or at worst non-combatants. It is ordered that the severest punishment be inflicted upon every soldier who is guilty of taking or destroying private property, and any commissioned officer guilty of like conduct, or of countenancing it, shall be deprived of his sword and expelled from the camp, not to be permitted to return.
On the march cavalry advance-guards will be well thrown out. Also flank-guards of cavalry or infantry. When practicable, a regular guard of infantry will be required to see that no teams, baggage, or disabled soldiers are left behind.
It will be the duty of company commanders to see that rolls of their company are called immediately upon going into camp each day, and every member accounted for.