point, negroes having informed me that rebel troops had encamped there. At night the party returned, and Captain Burbridge, commanding, informed me that as his advance guard went into the town the enemy's pickets went out of it; that a large force of cavalry were encamped a short distance off; that Union men living in the place had informed him that the force was the advance guard of a heavy body of troops then marching from Holly Springs and other points contiguous, to attack me our burn Memphis.
As severely days had passed without receiving dispatches from you-my messengers having gone to Bethel on the Thursday previous, and only this morning returned-I supposed my communication interrupted, and fearing the enemy had designs upon Memphis, defended at the time by but three regiments, two companies of cavalry, and a section of artillery, I at once moved down, arriving here about noon yesterday.
Colonel Slack, commanding at this place, received the same information about the same time. A Rev. Dr. Joseph Warren, chaplain of the Twenty-sixth Regiment Missouri Volunteers, captured at Corinth but released a short time ago, reached the city yesterday and reports rebel pickets within 6 miles.
I concluded that Memphis was a place of greater importance than Union Depot, and that under the circumstances I would be justly subjected to blame if I did not go promptly to the support of Colonel Slack, whose force was hardly sufficient to resist the horde of foes within the city, much less those without. I have no doubt for my own part of the correctness of my action. There is unquestionably a rebel force within striking distance at this moment. Within the hour past citizens have given me notice that they have information of an intention on the part of Forrest and Jackson to make a raid on the town to-night to destroy, if possible, the Government stores now unladen and unloading on the levee in vast quantities. At the same time I was informed that the Government property on the leave was in danger of being burned by the rebels infesting this city. To confirm my opinion, also, since my arrival I have ascertained that there is a scheme on foot to smuggle salt, supplies, clothing, &c., through to the rebel army. Colonel Slack had not the means to stop it. I hardly know whether I have, but will try.
As to the Memphis and Ohio Railroad, I wrote you its condition. The 11 miles of it instant from Union Depot to this city I can as effectually guard from the city as to it.
The government of the city I have assumed, nor will I until so ordered. Military direction for the security of the post is all I have undertaken.
General, Third Division.
HDQRS. FIFTH DIV., ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Numbers 43. La Grange, Tenn., June 18, 1862.
The commanding general must call attention to the duties of officers and men toward the slaves. The well-settled policy of the whole army now is to have nothing to do with the negro. "Exclude them from camp" is General Halleck's reiterated order. We cannot have our trains encumbered by them, nor can we afford to feed them, and it is deceiving the poor fellow to allow him to start and have him forcibly driven away afterward. For these and many good reasons the general