assisted by the residents of that mountain district, and is constantly picking up prisoners. Van Dorn is reported at Columbia. I keep Rosecrans informed of all movements. We are again in the midst of a heavy storm of rain, and all movements on both sides are suspended. Neither cavalry nor infantry can make any progress in any direction.
General McClernand sent up here a few days since 200 women and children, who were dropped upon the levee. It is not, in my judgment, humane to send these contrabands here, but, if done, I request that some communication may come with them, so that the authorities here may know that they are here by proper authority. Night before last the steamer Belle Memphis, bound up, landed, in defiance of orders, at Island Number 37, to take on cotton, as they supposed, being hailed for that purpose. The boat was seized by 5 men, who compelled the pilot to make a landing at Cottonwood Point, in Arkansas. They then went on shore, guarding 3 prisoners, 1 the pilot. The engineer backed his boat and went up the river with a lieutenant of the force on board, wounded by one of his own men. This band is commanded by Barton. As soon as the weather will permit, I shall send an expedition to destroy his house, near Bradley's Bend, and to sweep all the male inhabitants they can find down to Memphis, for the purpose of identification as members of this band. If they are identified, I shall probably not trouble your headquarters with any report.
As soon as our roads are passable for teams, the several changes necessary to reduce the number of guards, &c., on the road, will be made.
I regret to say that the railroad from Columbus down is not yet repaired. The delay seems inexcusable. It is promised to be finished by this week.
I am informed by the officer commanding the Cricket that he expects to leave soon. I consider it of vital importance that there should be one gunboat on duty at Memphis d request that Major-General Grant may press this matter on the attention of the admiral.
Hospital accommodation is being prepared, but our force of carpenters is so light that the work moves slowly.
[R. V.] Richardson's guerrillas, near Covington, and [G. L.] Blythe's, below, are still in motion, but do not us any harm.
I have heard indirectly that General Grant had ordered Hamilton to investigate the misconduct of the Seventh Kansas at Somerville. General Hamilton says he has received no such order. If such has been issued, I request duplicate.
Your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT.
MEMPHIS, February 25, 1863.
GENERAL: The cavalry of General Dodge, under command of Colonel Cornyn, attacked Tuscumbia, and rear of Van Dorn's column, on Sunday, 22nd instant, at 4 a. m. Captured one piece of artillery, 100 prisoners, 200 horses, a large amount of stores, including a train of cars, and 100 bales C. S. A. cotton, considerable money, and a large number of mules. *
Colonel Cornyn and his command have swum creeks and rivers, have
*See Series I, VOL. XXIII, Part I, p. 63.