MEMPHIS, TENN., October 8, 1863-3. p.m.
(Received 11.45 p.m., 10th)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
At the repeated and earnest request of the military superintendent of railroads in Tennessee I sent six locomotives to Cairo for Nashville. This was two weeks since. If they are as badly wanted there as he claims, they should go on; if not, they will do good service here. I have thirteen locomotives at this place-scarcely enough to run the road to Decatur. The road cannot be run to Decatur from Bear Creek unless heavily guarded, and the guards must come from Sherman's corps. There are 7,000 rebel cavalry now on the flank of the road between here and Corinth. The telegraph line is cut every night. A rise in the Tennessee and Ohio, which is daily expected, will relieve all this. I have not more men than enough to cover the road to Corinth. The locomotives now at Cairo await your orders. The true procedure, in my opinion, is to organize an expedition of infantry and cavalry drive the enemy below Columbus, Miss., bring in what is left of the rolling-stock at Grenada, and thus clear the flank for Sherman's march, while the rest of the force is repairing track.
S. A. HURLBUT,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Vicksburg, Miss, October 8, 1863.
Major General S. A. HURLBUT,
Comdg. Sixteenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: There is every indication that the enemy will make an effort to cut off communication between Memphis and Corinth, and also that he will endeavor to prevent Sherman from joining Rosecrans or getting near him to support him. They cavalry to my front have evidently gone north, 3,000 or 4,000 strong, and have been reenforced by two brigades of infantry.
I am also informed, and I believe reliably, that two divisions from Bragg's army have gone up the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Johnston is now with their troops in person. He was at Oxford a few days ago but has gone round to Okolona.
I am just sending out all the force that can be spared from here to drive the enemy from Canton and Jackson, with instructions to remain in Canton for a few days and scout with the cavalry as far eastward as possible.
Columbus, Miss.,is a point of vast importance to the enemy, and if threatened would necessarily cause the enemy to detain a large force at that point. The cavalry will try to create the impression that they are going there.
I presume you have full information of the movements of the enemy and are acting accordingly.
I further learn from Bragg's army, that since the fight it has been reduced largely by sending off detachments, first to prevent re-enforcements being sent to Rosecrans from Corinth, and second to push a force across the Tennessee, west of any force Rosecrans has,