go below to Vicksburg. Ammunition comes to him. In three or four days cars will run to Panola.
I strongly recommend a movement across the country, if the country is practicable. He has his battery and about 300 men at Panola, about 1,000 on Coldwater, the balance above in squads between Memphis and the Coldwater. A movement of this kind, I suggest, will do good in cutting them off from supplies.
Chalmers expects re-enforcements as soon as our force leaves the Yazoo, and undoubtedly will have them; so that, if the movement is made, it should be made at once.
Your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT.
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY DIVISION, Memphis, April 10, 1863.
Major-General PRENTISS, Comdg. Dist. of Eastern Arkansas:
DEAR GENERAL: General Hurlbut will order an expedition to move down from here toward Panola in a few days. I have said to him that I had not any doubt but you would co-operate in any move from here. We are weak in cavalry, in this, that it is scattered over a wide extent of country, and is greatly reduced for want of horses, &c. We have not over 1,000 here that would be available for a move to Panola. I have said to General Hurlbut that you would lend us, I had no doubt, about 1,000 cavalry for such a move, either by sending them here to join the column moving from here or by landing them at Austin and forming a junction with us at Senatobia, south of the Coldwater. General Chalmers has 1,500 men (mounted) at Coldwater Station and a small force at Panola. I am satisfied that it is the intention of the secesh to reoccupy the line of the Tallahatchee, to prevent any land movement from here to Vicksburg. I have just had before me two very intelligent boys, who left Vicksburg about ten days ago. They came to Grenada by rail, and stopped there one week; they then came on by rail as far as Yockeney Station, on the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad, and walked from there here, via Panola. One of them has been engaged for four or five months selling newspapers in the secesh army at Vicksburg, and is well posted. They say that at Panola they were fortifying, and as soon as our gunboats left the Tallahatchee they expected a large force at Panola. In my judgment, we ought to take possession of Panola without delay. If we can do so, the railroad from here there can be put in running order in ten days. Now, will you not, on receipt of this, send a small cavalry force, say 100, up to Austin, and reconnoiter the road from there toward Senatobia, as far as Hutson's Bridge, across the Coldwater, 15 miles back of Austin? If found passable, you will then be able to send a force, both of cavalry and infantry, out to join us when you hear that we are to move from here. I think there should be sent an iron-clad and some infantry on transports through the pass up to Panola at the same time we go from here, so as to cut off the retreat of Chalmers; also to assist us in crossing the Tallahatchee at Panola, and enable us to push below there, if desirable. If you send a party to reconnoiter out to Hutson's Bridge, and find the road passable, please let me know; also let me know if you will lend us a little help here if we want it. I case you cannot get across via Austin, we, of course, will send your men back as soon as the move is accomplished.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
C. C. WASHBURN.