quested Major-General Hurlbut to replace, as soon as possible, the troops ordered from my district down to Vicksburg. When ordered to withdraw my infantry from Fort Heiman, I left four companies of cavalry and a section of artillery there (sending at the same time cavalry expeditions in that direction), to hold the fort at all hazards, considering it the key to my district from the Tennessee side. Fort Henry is not occupied in any force by General Rosecrans' command.
There is no cavalry at Fort Donelson, and it is just reported by telegraph that the rebels are crossing the Tennessee at Rockport, opposite Reynoldsburg, and other places above, and that they have occupied Lexington, and were marching on Jackson, Tenn.
I have to-day received a letter from Major-General Hurlbut, dated Memphis, 13th, stating that he apprehends a cavalry rush back of Jackson, and directing me to communicate directly with you if the telegraph lines should fail south. The lines have not worked south for three days, and I therefore consider it my duty to give you the above hasty report, requesting that the six or more regiments of infantry and cavalry may be ordered to report to me to enable me to hold Fort Pillow, Island Numbers 10, Hickman, Columbus, Paducah, and Fort Heiman, and keep open the navigation of the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers, at this juncture of the most vital importance to our armies in the South.
I have now only one regiment of infantry at Columbus, one at Cairo, one at Paducah, sixteen companies at Fort Pillow, two companies on Island Numbers 10, and one company at Hickman, with eleven companies of Fourth Missouri and five companies of Fifteenth Kentucky Cavalry scattered over the district; one light battery of four guns, and no artillerymen to man the heavy guns.
My troops have been always fully occupied, and have cleaned my district of guerrillas. I succeeded in capturing several prominent guerrilla leaders, with many of their officers and men, a week ago. We broke up two powerful organizations-that of Colonel Dawson, on the Tennessee, and that of Colonel Harrison, who took Richardson's place on the Obion. Any re-enforcements granted will be well placed, and will assist me in operating energetically; and I feel confident of success at this most critical period in our western command.
I have just received a telegram from Union City that my locomotive, with working party repairing telegraph line, was fired upon by the rebels near Trenton, but escaped. The post commander at Hickman anticipates an attack to-night. I feel compelled to detain troops proceeding down the river, and request your sanction.
COLUMBUS, KY., June 15, 1863.
Saint Louis, Mo.:
By sending six regiments of infantry and seven companies of cavalry to Vicksburg, my command was very much weakened. There are no United States troops between here and the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. The rebels have crossed the Tennessee River in several places, occupying Camden, Lexington, Jackson, Humboldt, and Trenton, threatening my district. I am compelled to request you to assist me at once, if possible, with two regiments of infantry, until re-enforced by orders from Washington.