Railroad, and occupy the Memphis and Ohio to the intersection of the Northwestern. This, however, will depend upon General Grant and his orders. This road (the Memphis and Charleston)is a nuisance, and only kept up because of Corinth.
Very truly, yours,
S. A. HURLBUT,
COLLIERVILLE, December 11, 1863
The following received last night from La Grange:
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Collierville:
I have the honor to report that, in pursuance of orders, I sent this morning those men which have returned belonging to the first battalion, this regiment, to Somerville, under command of Major Graham. He found nothing of interest this side of Somerville, but in that place a squad of 20 or 30 under different commanders. The information,which appears reliable, is that Forrest is at Jackson, Tennessee, with from 2,000 to 2,500; that R. V. Richardson is at Medon: Colonel Hicks has been engaged in driving the Hatchie Bottom and conscripting. I sent two companies as ordered, via Mason, but have no report from them yet. Major Graham brings in 3 prisoners, which will be forwarded to you to-morrow. I have a night expedition out now in the direction of Middleton and Bolivar.
Colonel Seventh Illinois Cavalry.
W. SCOTT BELDEN,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
CHATTANOOGA, December 11, 1863.
Maj. General J. B. McPHERSON,
General Halleck informs me that the enemy threaten to close the river, and are now threatening Port Hudson. Give all the assistance you can in or out of the department. I shall start a cavalry force through Mississippi in about two weeks, to clean out the State entirely of all rebels.
U. S. GRANT,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF SIGNAL OFFICER,
DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Near Chattanooga, Tennessee, December 12, 1863.
Maj. General U. S. GRANT:
Comdg. Military Division of the Mississippi, Chattanooga:
GENERAL: I have the honor to request, in behalf of the signal corps of the army, an expression, in writing, addressed to the General-in-Chief of the Army, at Washington, of your views as to the value of the signal corps, its service to you during this war, and the conduct of the officers composing it. The corps is in its infancy, it is struggling for recognition and for a position in the army as an organization. Upon the opinions of the generals commanding in