HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, Tenn., February 16, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel John A. RAWLINS,
SIR: I have certain information that Van Dorn, with four brigades of mounted men, commanded by [W. H.] Jackson, [R.] McCulloch, [J. W.] Whitfield, and [F. C.] Armstrong, with twelve pieces of artillery and a heavy train, is moving by Burleson, in Franklin County, Alabama, to the east of Bear Creek. I think he propose to cross at Florence, and to remain in Middle Tennessee and operate in rear of Rosecrans. I have telegraphed to General Rosecrans and to the naval officer at Cairo to push a gunboat up.
As I am satisfied this will remove nearly all cavalry from my front, at the suggestion of General Hamilton, I have ordered Grierson's brigade to cross the headwaters of the Tallahatchee to the Yalabusha, by way of Pontotoc, cut the wires, destroy bridges, and demonstrate in that neighborhood, while the SECOND Iowa Cavalry, Colonel Hatch, pushes night and day toward the main road between Meridian and Vicksburg, if possible to destroy the bridge across Pearl River, in rear of Jackson, and do as much damage as possible on that line, returning by the best course they can make. It appears perilous, but I think it can be done and done with safety, and may relieve you somewhat at Vicksburg. To cover this movement, I shall at the same time send Lee toward Holly Springs, to go to the Tallahatchee or to threaten it sufficiently to make them burn the bridge, and then sweep round toward Panola and Hernando, enveloping [G. L.] Blythe's force and driving them to the Nonconnah or into the swamp.
Dodge's cavalry are in Alabama, hanging around Van Dorn and de laying him by burning bridges in his front. They have taken several prisoners right out of his column, which, by [reason] of the miserable roads, is very long.
I shall gradually move out the cavalry now here as soon as the roads permit, and concentrate force enough to whip Van Dorn as he comes back, if he does come back. At present the roads are horrible.
I desire by the expedition of Lee to ascertain the practicability of reachinrough the Yazoo Pass, so as to be ready to clear your ground should you determine to land there.
The city of Memphis has more iniquity in it than any place since Sodom, but certain examples are being made which may do good. As soon as McPherson's corps leaves, I shall be able to keep better order.
Your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT.
HDQRS. SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Number 13. Memphis, Tenn., February 16, 1863.
It is reported to the general commanding this corps that irregular and unauthorized levies of money and property have been made by officers, civil and military, in the service of the United States. If such payments are exacted for the performance of known duty, it is extortion; if for non-performance of duty, it is bribery. In either event the officer offending is unworthy of a commission in the service of the United States.
It is therefore ordered:
I. Any officer who shall exact from any citizen money or its equivalent for the discharge of any official duty, or who shall demand or receive