Sherman received nine transports of troops (new levies) day before yesterday at Memphis, and now has about 6,000 men (probably a little more); Hurlbut, at Bolivar, has 12,000 or 15,000; 2,000 at Jackson; and then there are garrison at Fort Pillow and Columbus. Rosecrans has probably 15,000. All that combined will give them about 35,000 men in West Tennessee. Curtis is within short time of Memphis, at Fort Pillow, with about 15,000 ; and so you see we must be quick in our movements when we shart the campaign; take them in detail and strike rapidly. Rosecrans and Hurlbut have about our force. We must whip them combined. We may take them in detail if they are not wary; but once combined we will make a successful campaign, clear out West Tennessee, and then-
I have directed the exchanged prisoners assigned to you, to be sent off as fast as they arrive. Can you not spare some arms for mine? I have none yet; none have been sent to me that I have heard of.
General, I think you had better send forward quite a cavalry force in the direction northeast of Ripley from Rienzi in advance of you, or as soon as possible. I do not feel secure here by any means. My depot here might be destroyed by a cavalry dash from Corinth. Vilepigue's brigade and most of my cavalry are now toward Memphis. They have been ordered in, but still I am not secure. I have also to observe toward Memphis.
Congratulating myself, general, that I shall be once more thrown with you in the glorious struggle for our country, and with assurances of my esteem and friendship, I am, your obedient and humble servant,
EARL VAN DORN,
P. S.-Send forward courier to communicate as often as possible.
RICHMOND, VA., September 16, 1862.
Major General EARL VAN DORN, Jackson, Miss.:
Exchanged prisoners must join their regiments; must be brigaded, as far as practicable, by States. Subject to these requirements and to General Bragg's instructions, you may distribute them as you think best. It is obviously proper for Breckinridge to have the Kentucky regiments. It is impossible for the Department to instruct you as to your line of operations, but co-operation between Price and yourself is indispensable to success, and was contemplated by General Bragg. Refer to the President's dispatch of September 11 and you will find such instructions as we consider it practicable to give. You are the senior officer, and, subject to General Bragg's instructions, can exercise your own discretion.
G. W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War.
JACKSON, MISS., September 16, 1862.
General STERLING PRICE, Iuka, Miss.:
Not under twenty days. The exchange must be ratified first. I shall thoroughly equip, except arming, and if I had your arms could drill the raw men. How many arms have you, and where are they?