HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF COLUMBUS,
Columbus, Ky., December 4, 1863.
Major General S. A. HURLBUT,
Commanding Sixteenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: Immediately on receiving the order to take up the Paducah and Hickman roads, I formed a junction of the two by laying about 1 mile of track in order to run up to Mingo Station, 17 miles from Union City, and commenced from that point working both ways toward Paducah and Union City.
I have received a telegram from General Grant not to take up any more of the Paducah road until further orders.
We are now at work on the Hickman road at Peru Station and vicinity. On the Paducah road, 7 miles from Union City, were about 40 bales of cotton. I ordered them brought to Columbus, as well as about 40 more bales from State Line, and now hold them subject to your orders. My object was to prevent them from being burned or destroyed by guerrillas; that near State Line had been there some time, and a portion of it owned by Judge Williams, from near Trenton, a good and unconditional Union man.
Please give me instructions in relation to it.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. J. SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Vicksburg, Miss., December 4, 1863.
Commanding Brigade, Fourth Division:
GENERAL: The recent appearance of guerrillas on the river between Grand Guld and Natchez, and the reported movement of rebel cavalry south through Claiborne and Jefferson Counties, render it necessary to send an expedition to disperse and capture them if possible.
You are hereby assigned to the command of the expedition for this purpose, consisting of two regiments of infantry, two of cavalry, and a section of artillery,and will embark on board of transports as soon as practicable, and proceed down the river.
The command will go provided with five days' rations and 100 rounds of ammunition to the man.
On reaching Rodney, should no enemy make their appearance in any force, on either bank, or should you not be able to learn anything of them or either bank, or should you not be able to learn anything of them or their movements, you can disembark and proceed up through Fayette and thence around to Natchez. Re-embarking at Natchez, you can come up to the vicinity of Waterproof and scour the country thoroughly toward the Tensas and around Lake Saint Joseph. This is the general outline and instructions, which, of course, you are at liberty to modify to suit circumstances. On completing the objects of the expedition you will return to this post.
Very respectfully,your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON,
22 R R-VOL XXXI, PT III