HDQRS. RIGHT WING, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Steamer Forest Queen, Helena, December 21, 1862.
General GORMAN, Commanding District of Eastern Arkansas, Helena:
DEAR SIR: Knowing the plans and purposes of General Grant, I have the honor to express my entire satisfaction with the force you have assigned to compose part of the present expedition.
One thing more only is suggested. General Grant wants a diverting force connecting the Mississippi River at or near Delta or Friar's Point with him between Oxford and Grenada. He suggested that a regiment of infantry and a section of artillery should be posted at Delata or Friar's Point, covering their camp with a breastwork of earth or fallen timber. This is for the base of operations for the cavalry, which should have a perfect roving commission. If the roads become impassable to us, they will be also to the enemy. This cavalry can study the roads, creeks, farms, and country generally, making their appearance at unexpected times at the Coldwater, Tallahatchie, or even the Yazoo, down as far as Honey Island. The object of such a force will suggest itself to the mind of any intelligent commander, who could so mystify his movements as to disconcert all the calculations of an enemy. For the present I would not advise any such force to go below Honey Island, but as soon as intelligence reaches them that Grant is below Grenada, they might threaten Yazoo City. But the general plan of our enemy has been to operate with their cavalry force is necessary to cover our rear and flanks. This cavalry force should communicate by any chance to any of our forces whom they approach or hear of. The sooner this is done the better.
I will be down as far as Gaines' Landing to-morrow, and by or before Christmas will be at the mouth of Yazoo. You know about my present strength. As to moving your whole command to Napoleon, I admit it strikes me forcibly, but think General Curtis should be consulted, as he may base some plan for other forces on the fact that you are at Helena. I would be obliged if you would write to the commanding officer at Columbus, Ky. (General Davies), the moment you make these dispositions, with a request that he telegraph the same to General Grant, wherever he may be.
I am, with great respect, your fiend and servant,
W. T. SHERMAN,
P. S.-I addressed a note to Admiral Porter this morning, asking his opinion as to the dispositions to be made of any boats that the cavalry force on the other side might find in the Tallahatchie, Sunflower, or Yazoo. His answer is, "I would advise the capture of all boats up the Yazoo, but not their destruction. The steam pipers can be taken off and the cylinder-heads also, which will render them useless. We may want them. Still, if the force is not going to stay there, it is better to destroy them." Therefore, if the cavalry should find a boat hid away, instruct them to cripple the boat in such a way as to render it useless to them, yet valuable to us. In case we get complete possession of the Yazoo, all flats and ferries should be destroyed, but steamers only disabled.
HDQRS. PROVISIONAL BRIGADE, Numbers 2. Humboldt, Tenn., December 22, 1862-10 p. m.
The undersigned having been relieved by Brigadier General Isham N. Haynie from the command of the United States troops now at this place, de-