understood that Dover is the object of your attack. But do not advance far enough to expose you flank and rear to an attack from Columbus and by all means avoid a serious engagement.
Make a great fuss about moving all your forces toward Nashville, and let it be so reported by the newspapers.
Take proper precaution to deceive your own men as well as the enemy.
Let no one, not even a member of your own staff, know the real object. I will send you some forces from this place to increase the deception. Let it be understood that 20,000 or 30,000 men are expected from Missouri, and that your force is merely the advanced guards to the main column of attack. The object is to prevent re-enforcements from being sent to Buckner. Having accomplished this, you will slowly retire to your former positions, but, if possible, keep up the idea of a general advance.
Be very careful, however, to avoid a battle; we are not ready for that; but cut off detached parties and give your men a little experience in skirmishing.
If Commodore Foote can make a gunboat demonstration at the sam time it will assist in carrying out the deception.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CAIRO,
Cairo, January 6, 1862.
Captain J. C. KELTON,
Asst. Adjt. General Dept. of the Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo.:
CAPTAIN: From information just received from Columbus the garrison there is now reduced from what is was a few weeks ago by the with drawl of the sixty-days' men, who are supposed many of them to have gone to Camp Beauregard. This leaves a force of probably thirty regiments in Columbus. General Pillow has resigned and gone to his home, in consequence of being ordered to Bowling Green.
The rebels have a chain across the river about 1 mile above Columbus. It is sustained by flats at intervals, the chain passing through staples placed about the watter's edge, the chain paging under the boats. Between each pair of the boats a torpedo is attached to the chain, which is expected to explode by concussion.
An experiment was made with one of these machines about ten days ago by directing a coal-boat against it. The experiment resulted satisfactorily to enemy. The position of them being so distinctly marked cannot be regarded as much of and obstacle. Others are supposed to be planted in the river above these, not so distinctly located. From information received through a gentleman up from Memphis there are about 600 torpedoes in the river from Columbus to that city.
There are quite a number of soldiers in the guard-house here for desertion, disorderly conduct,&c. I would suggest, in view of the difficulty of getting men for the gunboat service, that these men be transferred to that service; also that authority be given to transfer unruly men hereafter. I have spoken to Commodore Foote on the subject, and I believe it meets with his approval.
if it meets with the approval of the general commanding the department, I would be pleased to visit headquarters on business connected with this command.
U. S. GRANT,