SAINT LOUIS, MO., December 13, 1862 - 10 a. m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
I have the honor to report that recruiting for the Mississippi Marine Brigade progresses very slowly, and in view of the importance of its early foundation and of the great difficulty of subsisting men at this time, I would respectfully suggest that I be authorized to obtain men from commands already in the service. I would further suggest that these men be obtained from the convalescent in the hospitals. Many men who are utterly unfitted for the ordinary service in the field would make efficient soldiers for this service, which is so much lighter and less fatiguing. It is especially suggested that by this means the hospitals may be greatly relieved by the men rendered serviceable, who will otherwise continue to be a burden upon the country, or have to be discharged, Again, these men being disciplined soldiers will, as soon as formed into companies, be ready for service, while recruits will have to be kept out of service until drilled. The boats are purchased and being put in a condition to receive the men, and it is earnestly hoped, by the means proposed, the brigade may be ready as soon as the boats. Thus the value of the command from which the men are taken will not be impaired, while this service will be greatly promoted.
ALFRED W. ELLET,
HDQRS. RIGHT WING, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, December 13, 1862.
Commanding Columbus, Ky.:
SIR: If Captain Fitch be at Columbus hand him the inclosed letters, to be telegraphed to Generals Grant and Curtis and then remitted. I am anxious to get the one to Curtis promptly and get his answer to Helena with all dispatch to I foresee a mistake. I expect to hear from Helena to-night, but deem it important to get an order from General Curtis requiring this co-operating force. I will have here 5,000 less than Grant estimated, and if also the Helena force remain there I will have too small a body to accomplish the results expected at the time and in the manner required. Please use my name and power and send to Helena with all dispatch General Curtis' telegraphic orders and send me copies.
I will be all ready to embark at the date proposed by General Grant.
I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS,
Helena, Ark., December 13, 1862.
Major General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding Thirteenth Army Corps, Dept. of the Tenn.:
GENERAL: Yours dated at Oxford, Miss., December 8, 1862, and addressed to Brigadier General F. Steele, commanding United States forces at