HEADQUARTERS FIFTH DIVISION,
Memphis, September 8, 1862.
Brigadier General MORGAN L. SMITH,
Commanding First Brigadier:
SIR: In continuation of the subject of our conversation of yesterday I now instruct you to march about 1,200 men, selected from the regiments of your brigade, to a point on the other side of the Nonconah where it is crossed by the Pigeon Roost road, where they will bivouac to-night. At that point Colonel Grierson, Sixth Illinois Cavalry, will report to you with about 400 well selected and equipped cavalry and one of our best light batteries. You will then assume command of the whole. See that there are five days' rations on hand and all the tools necessary to effect the object of your expedition.
The object is the destruction of a new bridge under process of construction across Coldwater, about 7 miles below the town of hernando, and to drive away any force in that neighborhood. To effect this I leave you to act [with] discretion, but suggest that you detach about 100 cavalry to Germantown from your rendezvous with orders to join you afterward by Hernando; with your force then to move rapidly on Hernando, sending the cavalry to the bridge to see if it is guarded by cavalry only or by infantry and artillery. If there be artillery or any large party of infantry the cavalry should not be drawn within range, but return and report to you, when you can act with energy but due caution.
At about the time of the destruction of that bridge you will also cause to be destroyed a large section of the railroad track so effectually that it cannot be repaired, burning ties and bending the iron in such a way as to be utterly useless. The railroad bridge is already broken, but I want it so destroyed that it cannot be repaired this season. If you find surely that only a light force is at Senatobia you may attack that place and destroy it effectually, so as to be useless for the enemy.
Let your movements be rapid and decisive, keeping your own counsels and confiding only in two or three officers next in rank to yourself.
The only force capable of resisting you of which I have any knowledge is at Abbeville or Holly Springs. Therefore if you hear of any advance from that quarter look well to the roads to the front.
Leave in charge of your camps some responsible officer, who will command the fragment of your brigade, with positive orders to keep all the men in their camps and to see the guard well kept up.
I think you can accomplish all and return to your camp by Saturday, but leave this to you. Having a good force of cavalry you can keep me advised of anything that should be known to me and at the same time watch your own flanks.
I am, &c., your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN,
September 9, 1862-11 a. m.
Major-General HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
For two days now I have been advised of the advance of Price and Van Dorn on this place. I presume there is no doubt of the advance
14 R R-VOL XVII, PT II