HEADQUARTERS FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, October 10, 1863.
Expected hourly at Memphis:
GENERAL: I should have gone out to-day but am delayed for want of cars, but am assured a train will be disposable to-morrow. We have been delayed more than I calculated, first, by low water (some of the Fourth Division still lie on the river below, we know not where); and, second, the capacity of the railroad hence to Corinth is far less than we estimated. As it is, I moved nearly all the wagons and mules by land, and propose to let the Fourth Division march, the rail cars taking their knapsacks, &c.
I now have General Blair at Corinth, John E. Smith's division at Glendale, and Osterhaus at Iuka. The Second Division, Morgan L. Smith, is at this moment at La Grange,in consequence of a reported threat of the railroad at that place, but it will be moved forward at once. The Fourth Division will march, and should overtake us at Bear Creek.
I don't like this railroad; it lies parallel to an enemy's country, and they can break it when they please. Hurlbut's cavalry, under Colonel Hatch, encountered the enemy's cavalry at Salem yesterday, and retired, as I infer, worsted. I await momentary information from them.
My own opinion is, that we will have to rely on the Tennessee River or reopen the road from Corinth to Columbus. I have advised General Webster at once to look to that road, for it is certain this once from Memphis will be cut the moment I get east of Bear Creek.
I feel sure you will be ordered to Nashville to assume a general command over all the forces operating to the southeast, say, Rosecrans your center, Burnside left wing, and Sherman right. I have no knowledge of the strength of the other parts, but mine is too small to attempt to divide up to cover a long line of railway, and I would prefer to move about and learn to live on the corn and meal of the country. To depend on a road so precarious as this would tie us down to localities that can have no material influence on events.
I was in hopes to see you, but of course I must move on, and shall proceed on the plan to cross the Tennessee at Florence and move to Athens as well supplied as possible.
Here at Memphis you will learn all material facts, and can make the necessary orders or recommendations to General Halleck.
I am, sir,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
No. 192. Memphis, Tenn., October 10, 1863.
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II. 1. Brigadier-General Corse, now in command of Fourth Division, will put the division in motion to-morrow toward Corinth, together with his wagons, animals of all kinds, and artillery, leaving proper details with the regimental baggage and the knapsacks of the men to be transported out by rail.