for the same purpose. It is reported here that the enemy has stores at Batesville. If so, you will send a party to that place to destroy them. If you succeed in accomplishing these objects and the country is open for farther advance south, proceed to Helena, occupy and fortify that place, so as to cut off steamboat communication with Memphis. It is probable, however, that by that time I shall have seceded in turning Memphis by the east bank of the river.
On an expedition of this kind you can carry with you but very few supplies except small stores. For forage meat, and flour you must depend upon the country passed over. The quartermaster will be supplied with money to pay for these. When the money is exhausted he will give certificates. If the people will not sell at reasonable prices or if you have no money to pay, you will make forcible requisitions. It is reported that the country is well supplied with cane, which will serve as forage for your animals. Moreover, it is believed that you may partly supply yourself from enemy's stores at Pocahontas, Jacksonport, and Batesville. The success of your expedition will depend in a great measure upon the rapidity of your movements. Your train will therefore be made up partly of wagons and partly of pack-mules. Extra pack-saddles should be taken with you, for use in case you are obliged to abandon your wagons. It will be necessary for you to move with great caution and to keep your forces well in hand and together. The militia force at Pilot Knob will be left to guard that depot.
I have marked in red on the map sent herewith* the probable route, as derived from your own guides, and can vary from it wherever you deem best. Possibly you may be able to get steam transportation from Jacksonport to near Lawrenceville, and cross over form that point to Helena. The land route, however, appears to me the preferable one. The route marked between the Saint Francis and White Rivers is said to be a dry, sandy ridge, with no streams to cross, but with plenty of good water and an abundance of canes on each side for forage.
If you find the enemy in too large force to attack at any place, you will fall back for re-enforcements. If Columbus and Randolph should be evacuated and the enemy makes his stand at Memphis, we can land a force above that city and re-enforce you by Mount Vernon.
Keep the objects of your expedition a profound secret. Do not communicate it even to officers of your staff. Give it out at first that you are to move on New Madrid, and after you pass that place that Pocahontas is to be the only object, and so on as you advance. Be careful in selecting your guides, and make inquiries about roads in every direction, so as to deceive them. The object of expeditions often leaks out through guides. Moreover, they are frequently spies, who are with you for a time, and then escape to the enemy with valuable information. Watch your guides very closely and permit none to escape.
Keep me informed of all your movements by sending messengers to nearest telegraph station. The line will soon be extended to Saint Francisville. In your dispatches merely state what you have done and what the enemy is doing, but not a word as to what you intend to do, least they fall into the enemy's hands. In these dispatches you will call Pitman's Ferry "Harper's," Pocahontas "Virginia City," Jacksonport "Nashville," Batesville "Saint Louis," and Helena "Salem."