it cautiously, and make disposition as though you designed to picket that point; then proceed up Pea Ridge along the road where the Purdy road comes in by a large plantation. At that point consult with Majors Bowman and Sanger, and if they advise it, strike for the Charleston and Memphis Railroad, destroy the telegraphic wires and a part of the railroad, and return either by the Hamburg road or by the road you go. I will follow with a strong infantry and artillery force, and be either at the Lick Creek Bridge or Pea Ridge, at which point communicate with me.
Don't hesitate to make the attempt at the railroad unless you have strong evidence of its too hazardous character. The object is worth a desperate effort. I send with you a good guide, and herewith a good sketch of the intervening country.
Trusting to your discretion and wishing you all success, I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION,
No. 12. Pittsburg, Tenn., March 16, 1862.
The four brigades of this division will march from Pittsburg on the Corinth road, armed and equipped for a two days' march, in the following order:
The First Brigade will move at midnight to-night; the Second Brigade will move at 1 a.m.; the Third Brigade will move at 4 a.m.; the Fourth Brigade will move at daylight.
The head of the column will have a guide and will move by way of Bethel, the Bark road, Jack Chambers' farm, and take position at some point about 10 miles out, to cover reconnaissance of cavalry. The column will move slowly and deliberately, with advance guard and flankers, and in case of attack each brigade or regiment will send word to the rear and defend their ground.
Commanders of bridges will at once report to the commanding general and receive full instructions. He will after seeing the brigades fairly started join the advance.
The commanding general again cautions the commander of brigades, regiments, and companies to keep in good, close order, to prevent even marching by side paths, but to keep in ranks as on parades.
Frequent rests by brigades should be ordered-the progress about 2 miles per hour. Troops marching thus make a better impression than when they straggle on the road. Guides will be provided as far as possible, but commanders of brigades may impress citizens as guides, to be treated kindly but firmly.
By order of Brig. General W. T. Sherman:
J. H. HAMMOND,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION,
Pittsburg Landing, March 17, 1862.
SIR: The object indicated by General Smith for me to accomplish is to cut the Charleston and Memphis road, without a general or serious engagement. This is impossible from here, because the ground is well watched and a dash cannot be made. I have tried it twice. The first time defeated by rains, storms, and high water; the second by coming in contact with a cavalry force of the enemy, which was defeated,