HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tennessee, November 17, 1863.
Colonel J. KELTON,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters of the Army:
SIR: I inclose you copy of my General Orders, No. 157.* After long delay and exhausting every means I could think of, I am compelled to close my line in justice to my command and to the Government. A perpetual flood of fraud, false swearing, and contraband goods runs through the city, interfering with all proper military control and guided and managed by designing men for their own purpose. After trying all means in my power to control it and finding all in vain, I have determined to shut up my line for the present. I am surrounded by hostile forces, regular and guerrilla, and they are fed and supplied from Memphis. Pickets, in whom the ultimate virtue of a line consists, are bribed and corrupted, and no vigilance that I can use can prevent it. Much clamor will, of course, ensue, which I trust will have no effect at headquarters. Section 3 of the order is in obedience to orders from General Sherman. I hope this will be allowed to stand, as I shall either obtain recruits or get rid of a dangerous population.
I have the honor to be, colonel, your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT,
CAIRO, November 17, 1863.
Maj. General W. T. SHERMAN:
Steamer Sunnyside burned at Island No. 16 yesterday morning with 1,200 bales cotton. Fire accidental. Thirty to 40 lives lost. General Tuttle's division arrived at Memphis on the 12th instant from Vicksburg. All quiet below.
H. T. REID,
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Vicksburg, Miss., November 17, 1863.
Brig. Gen. J. P. HAWKINS,
Commanding at Goodrich's Landing:
GENERAL: Your telegrams and dispatch of the 16th instant have just come to hand. I cannot believe that any such force as you report is marching to attack you.
Colonel Ballinger, at Milliken's Bend, reports that Harrison with his cavalry is moving west, and that Lieutenant Colonel O. C. Risdon, of his regiment, is in the vicinity of Richmond and hears nothing of any force of the enemy moving against you.
General Crocker, in command at Natchez, reports, upon what he considers good authority, that Kirby Smith and Dick Taylor, with all their available force, are moving to a point opposite Tunica Bend, below the mouth of Red River. Nevertheless the enemy may be trying to deceive us in regard to their intentions, and we should be on the alert.
Goodrich's Landing and Milliken's Bend to not possess any particular strategic importance, but at the same time they are points
*Of November 15. See p.160.