vember 7, 1862, from these headquarters, relieving Major Gen E. Van Dorn from the command of the army of operation, until further ordes.
I am, general, very respectfully, &c., your obedient servant,
J. C. TAYLOR,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST CORPS,
Seven and a half miles from Water Valley, December 2, -11.30 p. m.
General VAN DORN:
The enemy is reported skirmishing with our cavalry about 4 miles from here, on the Conffeeville road from Oxford, and Jackson sends word, at 9.40 p. m., that they are "advancing in force" on the Sarepta road, and are this side of Oxford, and moving. General Price's train is just in front of me, and the rear of it has not attempted to move since noon to-day. If you can't get him along, we must stand still with our train, exposed to be lost. Part of Maury's force is in our rear, on Coffeeville road, and part on Sarepta road. The rear of my train has not crossed the Yocony, on the Sarepta road. Price's train (its rear) is not 3 miles from where it camped last night. No one appeared to push it along. If I could get to the Spring Dale road, I would turn my column to the right. General Pemberton will understand the road I mean. I sketch the position.
[P. S.]-The roads are horrible. I cannot get on at all, except by daylight, with trains and artillery.
THOMAS' HOUSE, NEAR TRUMBULL'S CREEK,
December 9, 1862.
Major General EARL VAN DORN:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I am encamped on this creek, about 9 miles from Grenada. Some of Bowen's division are 4 miles below me. Between me and Grenada (2 miles above me) the Troy road crossed the river, and has a practicable ford. There is another ford near here. The Troy road, leading directs from Charleston, should be well guarded, and I am about to ride up and look for an encampment there.
In my opinion, we should all be concentrated about Grenada with our "staves in our land and our lings girt about," and ready for a quick exodus. Why should we scatter our division in this way when no one division is throng enough to fight, and when it is not intended to fight?
If the engineer in charge of the works will have the railroad iron taken up, and will make his parapets of them, he will make quicker and better work of it. Those we have on the Potomac would resist a 10-inch shell, and they give a great sweep to the gun, being so thin.
My family, including Dr. Holland, arrived safely at Aberdeen on Thursday. Don't forget to order the payment of that claim. I am the more anxious about it because, with a small amount she has besides, it will enable here to purchase three or four Confederate bonds, which will be for the present her sole means of support.
Can's I ge [S. W.] Ferguson to command this Texas cavalry? Suggest him to General Pemberton.
DABNEY H. MAURY.