War of the Rebellion: Serial 011 Page 0286 KY.,TENN.,N.MISS.,N.ALA.,AND SW.VA. Chapter XXII.

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already a considerable force in East Tennessee, and information from various quarters indicates conclusively, I think, that they mean to augment it. The condition of things in Kentucky and Tennessee is not alarming, but it requires prompt attention. I think General Halleck is only waiting your instructions before sending the requisite force. General Mitchell, by advancing to Chattanooga without an attainable object, got some of his troops out of position for the security of Nashville, but he had already anticipated the instructions which I sent him in regard to it, and has recalled them.




Major-General HALLECK:

I received yesterday your dispatch concerning the selection of a camp for this command.

Between Tuscumbia and Twenty Mile Creek there is no water except in wells, mostly artesian, and sluggish, muddy streams through the swamps, which a few days of dry weather and use will render utterly unfit for stock even. The water throughout this strip of land is bad and scarce. In view of the sanitary condition of this force, which already begins to have a very serious sick list, I would suggest an immediate return to the camp on the north side of Tuscumbia Creek or Clear Creek. This latter creek is a clear, running brook of excellent water, 25 or 30 feet wide, with many springs along the banks, and with no swamp land whatever in the neighborhood. It affords fine water to drink and abundance for bathing purposes. There is no such stream between Tuscumbia Creek and Guntown.

The water of Tuscumbia Creek and Twenty Mile Creek is bad. They are both dull, sluggish streams of muddy water, in the midst of wide, tangled swamps.

Unless there are some immediate objects with which this arrangement would interfere, I am altogether in favor of moving back to Clear Creek. In case an advance movement is to be made toward Columbus, the distance to be overcome is only 10 miles more than from Fort Rienzi, not material in such a movement.

I would, therefore, respectfully suggest the following arrangement of this force: The main body to camp on Clear Creek; one brigade to occupy Rienzi; one battalion of cavalry to occupy Booneville, with pickets as far as the lower crossing of Twenty Mile Creek [Jacinto road]; another battalion of cavalry at Blackland, with pickets at Baldwyn, and one cavalry regiment at Jacinto. The whole of the approaches to Corinth is through Blackland, as you will see, I think, by inspecting the map.

At Rienzi most of the roads concentrate. At the camp on Clear Creek the health of my command would greatly improve, and their instructions could be carried on with hopes of success.

Should these views meet your approval, you will please telegraph me at once, as I desire to commence the movement as soon as possible.