HEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Vicksburg, November 14, 1863.
Maj. General W. T. SHERMAN,
Comdg. Dept. and Army of the Tennessee:
GENERAL: I have made arrangements to transfer Crocker's division to this place, leaving a garrison of two white regiments, two battalions of cavalry, one battery light artillery, and two colored regiments.
McArthur's division, with the colored troops, will constitute the garrisons for this place and Natchez. This will leave me Leggett's (late Logan's) and Crocker's division as a movable force to operate as circumstances may require.
I hear from good authority that the rebels are repairing the railroad from Brandon to Jackson and from Jackson to Canton. If this should prove to be so, I will try to break up the arrangement. The heavy work on the new line of fortifications here is about done, and the siege guns hauled up and some of them mounted.
The works under constructions at Natchez, Lieutenant Hains, engineer in charge, informs me, are well under way, and require a garrison of over 7,000 men. As this is a much greater number than can be spared for that at present, I have instructed him to finish up a portion of the work to accommodate a garrison of about 2,500 men.
Nothing new; Cosby's, Whitfield's, and Logan's brigade of cavalry are still between Black and Pearl Rivers, with a respectable infantry force at Canton.
It is rumored that Forrest is organizing a force to operate on the river south of Memphis, and that he has sic pieces of artillery.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON,
CHATTANOOGA, November 15, 1863-10 a.m.
(Received 1 a.m., 16th.)
Maj. General H. W. HALLECK,
Colonel Wilson, of my staff, and Mr. Dana are in Knoxville, and will not leave until present dangers are over. Burnside can certainly detain Longstreet in the Tennessee Valley until we can from present danger. I such moves him if he cannot hold the Knoxville and Clinton line for one week. If so, we can make moves here that will save all danger in East Tennessee.
Sherman is now at Bridgeport. He will commence moving to-morrow or next day, throwing one brigade from Whiteside's into Trenton, thus threatening enemy's left flank. Remainder of his force will pass over by Kelly's Ferry, leaving river from Lookout, and march up to mouth of Chickamauga. Pontoons are made and making to throw across at that point, over which it is intended Sherman's force and one division of Thomas' shall pass. This force will attack Missionary Ridge, with the left flank and Thomas supporting, from here. In the mean time Hooker will attack Lookout and carry it if possible