HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, Fayetteville, Tennessee, November 9, 1863.
Maj. Gen. S. A. HURLBUT,
DEAR GENERAL: I arrived here yesterday with the Fourth and Third Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, and await the coming up of the Second and First, when I except to move to Winchester and Stevenson. Dodge's command was across the Tennessee, ready to march for Pulaski, whence I must turn him south to Athens to cover the repairs to the railroad from Nashville to Decatur, but I am assured when offensive operations begin all my force shall be united, and the guarding of railroad left to the troops belonging to the Army of the Cumberland.
I will not be able to use the Tennessee as a line for supplies. All roads leading east and west in Tennessee are execrable, comparatively good road lead to and from Nashville. The railroad from Nashville to Stevenson is now the main artery of supply, and that from Nashville to Decatur is being repaired.
I think in this condition of things you had better put some good officer to command the post of Columbus. Leave Colonel Hicks, of the Fortieth Illinois, at Paducah, with a small garrison, and give A. J. Smith command of the line of the Tennessee, with such troops as you can spare for that purpose. Eastport should be held and fortified, and Smith should have one or two of the Ellet-fleet boats with which to patrol the Tennessee in co-operation with the gun-boats.
I do not think as long as we hold Eastport and Memphis any considerable body of the enemy will penetrate north of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and if they do, they will merely annoy the inhabitants that we are not bound to protect. They must organize and protect themselves. Our duty is to strike and break up the large armies of the Confederacy, which once broken and defeated, the smaller bands will soon be as obnoxious to the people of the South as to us.
Direct all officers and soldiers belonging to this army to come round to Nashville and forward to me at Stevenson. I will not attempt to keep up communication with the head of navigation on the Tennessee for the present, but will look to Nashville as my base of supplies.
You may exercise supreme control over all the troops north of the Tallahatchie, and between the rivers Mississippi and Tennessee, including Cairo and Helena.
I am, with great respect,&c.,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Fayetteville, Tennessee, November 9, 1863.
Maj. General J. B. McPHERSON,
Commanding Seventeenth Army Corps, Vicksburg:
DEAR GENERAL: I arrived here yesterday, and am waiting for the column to close up, when I except to move to Winchester and down to Stevenson. I have dispatches from General Grant at Chattanooga to November 5, when all seemed well.