small, troops having been drawn from it to operate in Arkansas against Price. It is reported that 1,500 cavalry have just gone to Memphis for this purpose. I do not think the entire force, including Memphis and Corinth, exceeds twelve white and six black regiments. Memphis has but one fortification on the south side, which does not protect the city or the Government stores, which could be destroyed. I understand the white troops are encamped around the city, and no doubt can be surprised by a forced march and an early attack.
I propose to try a surprise on Memphis, La Grange, or other point about the 6th of next mont, and endeavor to sweep the railroad if practicable. To do this I shall operate with Chalmers' and Ferguson's force, and about 800 of Jackson's, ordering Logan to move to the vicinity of Raymond, and to be temporarily under the orders of Jackson, during the absence of Jackson's force. A force will be left to make a demonstration on Corinth, and I propose endeavoring to get the co-operation of General Roddey, who professes to be anxious to co-operate at any time. I would suggest that an infantry brigade be sent to Brandon and this point, during my absence, for the better protection of the large wagon train now running between those two points. I have sent reliable men into Memphis and to La Grange, to have reliable information for me about the time I propose making the move. The only exposed point during the move would be a raid from Port Hudson or Natchez.
Captain Martin, of my staff, will hand you this communication, and I request your approval with such suggestions as you are pleased to make. I could make a strong move with Ferguson's and Chalmers' force alone, but would prefer 600 or 800 of Jackson's men, whom I consider more reliable. Should you approve, would request to be informed by telegraph, so I can commence to prepare at once.
S. E. LEE,
COMMISSARY OFFICE, POLK'S CORPS,
Camp at Gordon's Spring, September 20, 1863.
Colonel T. M. JACK,
COLONEL: Yours per courier, dated last night 9.30 o'clock, arrived this morning, ordering cooked rations for 500 wounded men of Cheatham's division. We sent out this morning rations for the troops and I have the train at Tunnel Hill for two days' rations,but I am fearful I may have some trouble in getting them, as the commissary at Tunnel Hill said he had an order from Major Hillyer not to deliver any rations only on his order and that we must draw at Leet's Tan-yard. If that is to be carried out i wish you would speak to the general on the subject, and ask him if I shall move to the tan-yard with the wagoners, as they are the parties who are now drawing the rations and cooking. If I do not get the rations to-day at Tunnel [Hill], I will be forced to pursue the other course, as the men must not do without rations.
Everything going on here as desired.
J. J. MURPHY,
Major and Commissary of Subsistence.