HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, November 6, 1862.
Colonel J. C. KELTON,
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I suppose my force on Saturday next will be about 8,000 at Helena. I telegraphed to-night asking you if I shall try to destroy railroad at Grenada. My plan will be to send a cavalry expedition, to travel night and day, destroy, and return. The danger is that bridges may be destroyed to cut off the return. If your dispatch favors the idea I shall direct General Hovery to take all possible precautions to prevent such accidents.*
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I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
SAML. R. CURTIS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
La Grange, Tenn., November 6, 1862.
Major General WILLIAM T. SHERMAN,
Commanding District of Memphis, Memphis, Tenn.:
A dispatch just received from General Halleck promises me re-enforcements to the number of 20,000 men,+ to be sent immediately, and suggests sending them to you. I have asked to have sixteen regiments of infantry and all of the artillery and cavalry that may come to be sent that way. The remainder I want sent here to fill the present organization, at present reduced by taking out railroad guards.
I am also instructed to detail one commissioned officer from each Ohio regiment to report to the adjutant-general of the State, to take charge of drafted men to fill up their respective regiments. You may regard this as an order for making the detail from your command.
The expectation of these re-enforcements will cause a delay in my movements, and will render a demonstration from Memphis unnecessary for the present, unless our reconnaissance should demonstrate that the enemy are evacuating Holly Springs. I will not move from here under a week or ten days, and will try and communicate with you in the mean time.
I have already been re-enforced to such an extent that I feel no doubt of the result if I should advance now, but as so many are coming it is more prudent perhaps to avail myself of our whole strength.
I am also informed by General Halleck that a large force of our troops are moving north from New Orleans. Also that the Helena force is being augmented, and if not practicable to go to Little Rock they will be instructed to cross the Mississippi and march on Grenada. Of course I can make nothing but independent moves with this command, being governed in that by information received from day to day, until I am fully informed of where and how all these other forces are moving, so as to make the whole co-operate.
If you have not yet moved out, under the instructions sent by way of Columbus, it will not be necessary to do so now. If you have moved you can go back to Memphis and await re-enforcements and instructions.
Send me any information you may have received from Holly Springs within the last week. There is no doubt but that Villepigue has left
* Portion of letter omitted above appears in Series I, Vol. XIII, p. 780.
+ See Part I. p. 467.