I am perfectly willing and ready to go, but unless ordered so to do, do not propose to leave my own army corps and assume command of strange and fragmentary troops, when the good of the service will be promoted as well by putting them under command of another general. Prentiss is here. If the troops move at all, I shall assign him to command.
The expedition as prepared will consist of Osterhaus' division, John E. Smith's division, and Bane's brigade from Corinth, consisting of about 9,000 infantry.
If relief is given by proper officers and commands to hold Memphis and its line, I can take my own command as it stands. I am ready to move with 11,000 infantry and 4,500 cavalry, leaving to my successor, whomever he may be, 1,500 cavalry and the negro regiments, say 4,000. I dare not leave this line until adequate force is provided to hold it. The major-general thinks I can spare one or two divisions. I have but two.
I still insist that a corps established east and south of Corinth will cover Vicksburg better than the Big Black and will give a better hold for future movements. In any event, I shall have here when Osterhaus and Smith are fully in place 12,000 disposable men to be moved wherever the exigency of the service demands, and will await orders from the commander-in-chief, to whom I report the substance of the above. The route proposed for the troops to Rosecrans is to Tuscumbia, thence crossing the Tennessee by Jackson's Ford, near Florence, through Athens to Fayetteville and Decherd. If I take my corps complete, I shall move by Huntsville to Stevenson, keeping nearer the river than with a smaller force.
Smith's division reports only 2,000 men. I send the substance of this to Major-General Halleck by telegraph from Cairo, and await his orders.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT,
SPRINGFIELD, ILL., September 27, 1863.
Major General S. A. HURLBUT, Memphis:
It is very desirable that a few regiments be ordered to Cairo soon as possible. The urgency of the case will be explained when I see you. I leave for Memphis this evening.
J. D. WEBSTER,
LA GRANGE, September 27, 1863. [Received about 3,55 p.m.]
Colonel August MERSY,
Commanding Second Brigade, Pocahontas:
Information just received from Colonel Burke, Camp Davies, through Left Wing Sixteenth Army Corps, which he states comes from a reliable source, that 5,000 of the enemy are concentrating at Ruckersville. Send a mounted force and investigate, and report to these headquarters all reliable information in reference thereto.
T. W. SWEENEY,