Today in History:

71 Series I Volume XXXII-III Serial 59 - Forrest's Expedition Part III


present, is best an account of its proximity to Cario, thought which point all communication must pass.

I know and you know that the enemy cannot now maintain an army in Mississippi, and we also believe that the movement up Red River, now in progress, will extend our empire to the west.

I want you to make sure the defense of Memphis, Vicksburg, and Natchez against any possible contingency, to encourage and project the navigation of the river, and, lastly, to encourage the change in feeling toward us and our Government by the citizens of West Tennessee and Mississippi. I don's mean by political combination and conciliation, but by the exercise of that power, strength, and confidence that indicates a permanent change in that affairs in this region.

I see in the future two things to be done:

First. By a combined moments, to secure possession of the remaining locomotives and cars on the railroad below Grenada, to move them north of Yalobusha and use them on the track hence to Grenada; also to encourage the people in like manner to repair the road hence to Humboldt, and so on to Columbus, Ky.

Second. Should the grand army of the center move in strength across the Tennessee into North Alabama and Georgia in all April and May, Smith's division of infantry, light, and Grierson's cavalry should move straight on Columbus and Tuscaloosa, feigning on Selma and swinging up the Tennessee River above Decature, giving prior notice of the time they are likely to appear there.

This would ba a self-sustaining move, and might be important, and will likely be referred to by me in some future communication. Study the maps well and provide in advance all things, so that should I order it the movement will be exact on time. You and I have both experience how foolish such bold moves are if not made concurrent with others of which they form a part. I will see you before starting, and will write you fully from Nashville and Huntsville.

Truly, yours,


Major-General, Commanding.


Numbers 28. Memphis, Tenn., March 14, 1864.

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II. Major-General McPherson will organize two good division of his corps, the Seventeenth, of about 5,000 men each, embracing in part the re-enlisted veterans of his corps whose furloughs will expire in April, which he will command in person, and will rendezvous at Cairo, Ill., and report by telegraph and letter to the general commanding will be provided with new arms and accouterments and land transportation (wagons and mules) out of the supplies now at Vicksburg, which will be conveyed to Cairo by or before April 15.

III. General McPherson will, out of the troops in the district of Vicksburg not belonging to the two divisions named, organize good garrisons to hold Vicksburg and Natchez, and will order the commanders to make report and returns to Major-General Hurlbut at Memphis, as also to the corps headquarters in the field.