our forts, warehouses, &c., and they can tell you all about them. Memphis is admirably adapted as a point for assembling, forming, and organizing a force of operations on the Mississippi River, as well as for invading the States of Arkansas and Mississippi, and I will undertake to put in good order any number of troops you may send here. Of course I would much prefer to have recruits to fill up our present regiments to having new regiments, but we must take what we can get.
The collection of rents proceeds favorably. Some appeals have been taken, and I send with this one case-that of Wickersham, a neutral native of Ohio, whose post-office was used by the Confederates, and the theater, which was vacant. The papers I send you give a full history of the case, and I hope the Secretary of War will sanction our acts. I certainly do have less sympathy for this class of middle men than for the out and out secessionist. I do not know but that I should send my answer to the Secretary through you, but he referred the case to me direct, calling for a full and prompt report. If the copy of my report herewith does not accord fully with your views, please write to the Secretary. My project for taking care of the destitute has met a ready response. Ward committees and a central board have been organized composed very fairly of representatives of all interests. I have given them the use of a vacant building, an order for 25 cords of wood a month (cut by contrabands and hauled by our teams), an order for prescriptions of medicines out of confiscated drugs, and $ 1,000 in money out of the collection of rents; also have made a recommendation to companies to send to the depot a part of their company savings in kind. This is liberal, and, with the contributions of merchants in kind, by theaters, and families, will enable the central board to provide for all the destitute and distressed. A special tax on secessionists would accomplish the end less effectually, for indeed all the public contributions above indicated come exclusively out of our enemies.
I shall enforce the banishment of the proscribed families, because if we must fight for the river we cannot afford to do it for the benefit of the families of men in open hostility. I have thrown the onus on them.
I note the general's allusion to Rosecrans, and was somewhat surprised, though convinced. I hope Hurlbut and McPherson will be retained in the department.
With great respect,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF MEMPHIS,
Memphis, November 1, 1862.
GEORGE D. PRENTICE, Esq.:
DEAR SIR: I have just placed your note in the hands of one of my staff, to make inquiries into the affairs and condition of that railroad in which you unfortunately own stock. As to incomes from such property during the war, I know you have made up your mind, but I believe the railroad is substantially uninjured, and in time will be valuable, but of this I will write when I am better posted on the "collateral." Of course, I will ever do my best to save your interests and fulfill your wishes.
I still see no clear, well-defined issue to this war. We are groping in a mist, and, in spite of the teachings of history, we seem to mistrust our only compass of safety, viz, the written compact of Government-our Constitution. Our people, impatient, find fault with individuals, and