MEMPHIS, TENN., September 27, 1863-5.30 p.m. [Received 9.30 p.m., 30th.]
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Osterhaus is up with his division, of Sherman's corps, say 5,500. John E. Smith, of McPherson's corps, will be here to-night, say 2,100. To these I can add a brigade, say 2,000, and start them from Corinth by Thursday. The route will be by Florence, Athens, Fayetteville, and Decherd, under your last telegram received, of 22nd . I shall not probably move them until I hear from you, and beg an immediate reply. If any force comes up from below that will relieve me, I can move my corps, or so much as is on this line, consisting of 11,000 infantry, 4,500 cavalry, with powerful artillery. General Grant evidently expects me to go, but unless he sends proper officers and more force I shall not move without orders. Sherman's or any other corps can march through my command now in cantonments in less time than the same force can relieve posts. My entire command is ready to go at any time and to any point. Even if they do not go to General Rosecrans, a heavy force south and east of Corinth will cover Vicksburg and be a threat in that direction. I request immediate orders.
S. A. HURLBUT,
HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tenn., September 27, 1863.
Brig. General JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Department of the Tennessee, Vicksburg, Miss.:
GENERAL: I send you the correspondence between myself and the General-in-Chief. Like everything else connected with the river, this correspondence has been delayed. It is evident that the General-in-Chief does not expect the troops forced forward beyond our reach into Middle Tennessee, and that he did expect that Sherman's corps was to be moved up. If I correctly understand the nature of things in the Army of the Cumberland, the extreme urgency of the case has passed. An accumulation of force from east and west was suddenly thrown upon Rosecrans to destroy his army; thence intended to strike with like effect and the same purpose on Burnside. General Thomas, by his heroic resistance, has saved that Army of the Cumberland from actual destruction, and the enemy are too severely crippled to pursue the advantage gained. Burnside has probably joined before this and is safe. Meade is moving on Richmond, and the eastern force must return, and that rapidly, to save the capital. Rosecrans should be re-enforced to enable him to profit by the reflux of this tide. The movement was a dash and has failed.
Osterhaus has reported to me to-day, and moves out to and beyond Corinth to-morrow by rail. John E. Smith will be up to-morrow. In four days these divisions will be in readiness to move wherever directed. My entire corps is to-day ready to move. I have only two divisions of infantry, excluding colored troops, on this line, and cannot, in my judgment, spare more than one brigade [four regiments]. I am very strong in artillery and have now 4,500 cavalry. The line cannot be abandoned, and it is far easier to send troops through the country than to relieve those on guard.