Troops fine and healthy, horses and mules ditto, but from here to Chattanooga there is not a blade of grass or corn, and the railroad is unequal to the task of supplying provisions and forage for so large an army.
I have been up to Chattanooga and have seen the enemy's camps all around it, in confident security. We must disturb that seeming tranquillity, and the quicker the better.
Grant can now ride, and looks cheerful. Thomas the same as of old, any quantity of our old acquaintances, and I observed they were pleased to find a part of the Army of the Tennessee so near at hand.
If you find Hurlbut threatened, and can send boats up the Yazoo, it will have a good effect, but I suppose you feel your force too small for offense.
If Bragg falls back from before Chattanooga, and things assume a better appearance, them I would try and assemble a force near Tuscumbia and try and reach Selma from the north.
I wish you were with me, but confess I feel satisfied that you are at Vicksburg, for I don't want to fight for that place again.
W. T. SHERMAN,
MEMPHIS, Tennessee, November 18, 1863.
Colonel ISAAC R. HAWKINS,
Commanding Seventh West Tennessee Cavalry:
COLONEL: You will start with the effective force of your command and one day's rations at 3 o'clock to-morrow morning toward Hernando, Miss., going as far as that point if practicable. You will obtain all possible information as to the whereabouts and intentions of the enemy, and will impress all able-bodied citizens and contrabands liable to do military duty. You will not spend much time in this work, merely such as may be found upon the line of your march. You will use all due caution in your march, hold your command well in hand, and allow no pillaging or marauding. You may take all forage and provision that may be necessary to feed your command, in each receipting for the same. Immediately upon your return you will report in person to these headquarters.
By order of Brig. Gen. B. H. Grierson:
S. L. WOODWARD,
HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tennessee, November 18, 1863.
Geddes starts to-morrow for La Grange; will be up in three days. If you are threatened before that, will send trains to push him forward. If you believe yourself in danger of attack, send contrabands down by rail to Memphis; not without. I will attend to cavalry north of the road as soon as the infantry is in place. Send down all of your spare arms.
S. A. HURLBUT,