War of the Rebellion: Serial 025 Page 0866 Chapter XXIX. WEST TENN. AND NORTHERN MISS.

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the criminal law of Shelby County. I find it difficult to spare competent officers to try even the offenses against the military law.

Let the gabbling fools of Memphis draw their own conclusions as to our seeming concessions to the people. Our minds are operating in other points at this time.

When the Confederate armies in the field are defeated, then we can give the stay-at-home people a chance to choose between their lawful government and banishment. In the mean time, if any tribunal will fairly try criminals and dispose of them, let it do so; but Judge Swayne knows if he uses his court for political purposes, so as to nullify the laws of the Congress of the United States, he will himself change places with the criminal at the bar. If, however, he will confine himself and court to the punishment of the murderers, thieves, and scoundrels that infest the country, I will not be very critical as to the means by which such an end is to be attained.

The points you make are easily answered. Applicants for naturalization papers can easily be accommodated by enlisting in any one of our regiments. Criminals can easily be transported to the penitentiary at Nashville.

Appeals may come to us, and I will certify them, to await the future, sending the criminal in the mean time a safe place of custody, viz, the penitentiary. No law of Tennessee, in conflict with the law of the United States, is the law, and if any lawyer or judge thinks different, the quicker he gets out of the United States the safer his neck will be.

We have confidence enough in our power to allow a little blowing off of surplus steam. Things are progressing fast enough, and those who think Tennessee is a sovereign power on earth will change their minds in time.

Your friend,

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS,

Springfield, Ill., November 15, 1862.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War, Washington City, D. C.:

Mr. Montgomery, late editor of the Vicksburg Whig, informs me, upon the authority of his mother, just arrived from Vicksburg, that Pemberton, Smith, and Villepigue, with only 5,000 men, are at that place, and that they are repairing the portion of the railroad, 18 miles in length, leading from a point opposite Vicksburg across the Mississippi bottom, particularly for the purpose of facilitating the introduction of supplies from the Washita country.

He also says the enemy are fortifying Haines' Bluff, on the Yazoo River, 12 miles from Vicksburg, and communicating with that place by a ridge road; also that the enemy are fortifying Port Hudson, below Bayou Sara, declaring that they will make that point more difficult to pass than Vicksburg. Would it not be advisable that the gunboats below that point should be ordered to frustrate this design, if practicable?

The way cleared from New Orleans to Vicksburg, it would be expedient that transports, under convoy of gunboats, should be sent up the Mississippi to a point as near Vicksburg as might be found safe to meet the contingency of a determination to cross our troops over the river