The escape of Chalmers and Richardson is disgraceful. I yet have no particulars. The cavalry alone should have broken them and captured their ill-served artillery. The infantry lay two days at Hudsonville, and by want of concert and want of spirit the enemy got off. For this there is now no help. I shall move the cavalry to the Coldwater, unless it be necessary, as it probably will, to send one regiment north of the road. Guerrillas are thickening up there, and expect Richardson with his force to-day to move on the river. This, however, you prevented at Collierville, and I do not think they will rally again for a week.
The enrollment of citizens in Memphis would not amount to much, nor are they to be depended upon.
I shall, by undertaking to extend my line to Buzzard Roost, inevitably peril the road for some time, and very possibly lose minor posts, but Moscow, La Grange, Pocahontas, Corinth, and Rear Creek can be held.
You may rest assured I shall do all in my power to aid you in your movement.
I am informed that quite a number of straggling sick of your corps are at La Grange.
I have directed Surgeon Campbell to confer on this subject with McMillan, who moves out to-morrow to join you, and to have a surgeon or two detailed to attend them.
Very truly, your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT,
HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tenn., October 16, 1863.
Major General F. STEELE,
Commanding Arkansas Expedition, Little Rock, Ark.:
GENERAL: Sherman is moving out on the line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad toward Athens to join and re-enforce Rosecrans.
Grant has been ordered to Cairo to consult the Department, and as he has his entire headquarters with him, will, I think, be ordered to Nashville to command the entire movement on the Tennessee River. Sherman requests me tho throw a strong force across Big Bear Creek, which reduces my strength at Memphis to the minimum, and in fact leaves me no movable force but cavalry. Under these circumstances, and as it is apparent that the enemy have abandoned you, it is very necessary that True's brigade return here as soon as practicable.
They must march to Helena, I presume, as the river is too low for boats; their heavy baggage under small guard may come by boats. I make this request of you because I consider myself reduced far too low in numbers to hold my line thus extended, and hope you will be able to comply with it rapidly.
General Grant suggested when here the propriety of a cavalry dash by you upon Arkadelphia, and desired me to communicates his wish.
Your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT,