HEADQUARTERS FIFTH DIVISION,
Memphis, August 17, 1862.
Major-General GRANT, Corinth:
DEAR SIR: A letter from you of August 4, asking me to write more freely and fully on all matters of public interest, did not reach me till yesterday.
I think since the date of that letter you have received from me official reports and copies of orders telling almost everything of interest here-abouts; but I will pleasure take every occasion to advise you of everything that occurs here.
Your order of arrest of newspaper correspondent is executed, and he will be sent to Alton by the first opportunity. He sends you by mail to-day a long appeal and has asked me to stay proceedings till you can be heard from. I have informed him I would not do so; that persons writing over false names were always suspected by honorable men, and that all I could hold out to him was that you might release him if the dishonest editor who had substituted his newspaper name to the protection of another would place himself in prison in his place. I regard all these newspaper harpies as spies and think they could be punished as such.
I have approved the arrest of the captain and seizure of the steam-boat Saline for carrying salt down the river without permit and changing it off for cotton. I will have the captain tried by a military commission for aiding and abetting the public enemy by furnishing them salt wherewith to cure bacon, a contraband article; also for trafficking on the river without license or permit. I hope the court will adopt my views and stop this nefarious practice. What use in carrying on war while our people are supplying arms and the sinews of war? We have succeeded in seizing a good deal of Confederate clothing, percussion caps, &c., some mails, &c.
At our last regular muster I caused all absentees to be reported "deserted," whereby they got no pay; but inasmuch as the order for the muster for to-morrow, August 18, is universal, I will have the muster to-morrow and all absent then will be treated as deserters, and I will remit the former penalties as they are incurred under my orders.
I have sent out several infantry parties,as also cavalry, and am certain there is nothing but guerrillas between this and Senatobia and Tallahatchie. All the people are now guerrillas, and they have a perfect understanding. When a small body gets out they hastily assemble and attack, but when a large body moves out they scatter and go home.
Colonel Jackson commands at Senatobia, Jeff. Thompson having been ordered away. Villepigue is at Abbeville Station, 18 miles south of Holly Springs. They have guards all along the railroad to Grenada and cavalry everywhere. I think their purpose is to hold us and Curtis here while they mass against you and Buell or New Orleans. Price has been reported coming here, but of this we know nothing. If he comes he can and will take care that we know nothing of it till the last moment. I feel certain that no force save guerrillas have thus far passed north toward McClernand.
All the people here were on the qui vive for Baton Rouge and Nashville but there seems to be a lull in their talk. I find them much more resigned and less presumptuous than at first. Your orders about property and mine about "niggers" make them feel that they can be hurt, and they are about as sensitive about their property as Yankees. I believe in universal confiscation and colonization. Some Union people