HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT SOUTHEAST MISSOURI,
Cairo, December 8, 1861.
Captain J. C. KELTON,
Asst. Adjt. General, Dept. of the Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo:
CAPTAIN: I have just got in a man who spent yesterday in Columbus. He reports the enemy strongly fortified there, with fifty-four pieces of heavy ordnance- less than I have understood heretofore they had. In addition to this they have ten batteries of light artillery, with forty seven regiments of infantry and cavarly, all armed. There is not the slightest intention of attacking Cairo, but the strongest apprehension exists that Columbus is to be soon attacked. I believe that I have full means of keeping posted at to what is going no south of this point and will keep you fully informed.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,
LOUISVILLE, KY., December 8, 1861.
Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN:
MY DEAR FRIEND: I have received your letter of the -, and thank you very cordially for it. Such encouragement would make a good lieutenant of almost any man, and robs him of all claim to credit, no matter what he may accomplish. A good programme does not always result to our entire satisfaction, but I shall work very hard not to disappoint your confidence altogether.
We are gradual getting into position. As fact as the troops get their outfit they are moving into place, and in a few days all that have arrived will have gone. The quartermaster's department does not quite work up to my exaction, but perhaps I am a little unreasonable. We are greatly in want of staff officers and brigades. The letter I am loath to nominate to you until I know the men better. I have been approached in behalf of some who I am satisfied are, and who I understand are now being urged by their friends for appointments. I certainly hope they will have to wait they are tried. One of them is Colonel Burbridge, a relative of Governor Wright. As for staff officers, quartermasters, &c., I have proposed, in dispatches to the Adjutant General, either that some shall be sent out speedily, or that I may be authorized to appoint, subject to confirmation, and order their pay for the time they serve. This plan seems to have the advantage of affording the opportunity of dropping these who do not turn out well.
The Kentucky troops, which have heretofore ben scattered all over State in innumerable fragments, are gradually getting into regimental organizations, so that I can do something with them, though only a few regiments will probably be in a condition to advance. They will not be useless, however.
I suffer annoyance yet from the officiousness of Governors. They send their staff officers to look the interest of their troops, exchange their arms without my knowledge, and keep up a communication in other matters which they have no business with. I stop things when they come to my knowledge, and after a while will be able to correct them entirely.