Via Cairo, Ill., December 24, 1862-8 a. m.
Major-General HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
I am informed General Cheatham has crossed the Tennessee with 40,000 men and is marching north. I cannot hold Columbus against that force. The information had reached me before that he had crossed but I did not credit it till now.
THOS. A. DAVIES,
Washington, December 24, 1862.
Brigadier General THOMAS A. DAVIES, Columbus, Ky.:
Columbus must be held at all hazards. You will be immediately re-enforced. Communicate by river with General Grant and Memphis.
H. W. HALLECK,
COLUMBUS, KY., December 24, 1862-11.30 a. m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, U. S. Army:
I have suspended the repairs on the road south till I learn more definitely the position of things. My small picket at Union City was captured last night just before sundown; the force reported at 7,000. The information that cheatham, with 40,000 men, had crossed Tennessee River has induced me to place Columbus in a condition to hold it at all hazards. I shall load the commissary stores and all other property here (which only costs labor, which we have) on boats and then i can hold the place with the forces I have here now-5,000 men all told I shall probably get some more re-enforcements. I taken these precautions because of the risk I may run of leaving the place without, as I telegraphed you I could not hold the place with the property in its present position. I do not know that the circumstances warrant the movement, but from all I can learn after consultation I deem this course prudent.
THOS. A. DAVIES,
MEMPHIS, TENN., December 24, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
The railroad having been cut at Holly Springs and points between jackson and Columbus deprives me of communication with General Grant until he opens his way to General Sherman, on the Mississippi. The fort at this pint was constructed for garrison of 8,000 men. I have fur regiments raw infantry, 200 cavalry, and 27 artillerists. No gunboats on this station. I require four more regiments of infantry, one cavalry, armed with carbines, in order to hold city and patrol adjoining country. The Partisan Rangers are within 5 miles, on northeast and south, about 1,300 in all, as far as I can learn. Van Dorn reported at Somerville, 45 miles. There are heavy stores here of ordnance and supplies. I hold city by terror of heavy guns bearing upon it and the