crossing the Tennessee for which you have seventy pontoons. Let Jenney have a saw-mill and get out balks and cheeses for that length of bridge. Keep the boats well guarded in any creek above Guntersville-as near as possible to one of our divisions. Keep your corps stationed by divisions, and if detachments are called for let them go out from the nearest division.
General Grant tells me he has already ordered a brigade to Hunstville. Send a whole division, and instead of keeping the corps between Paint Rock and Stevenson let it stretch down to Huntsville or even Athens, but so arranged that concentration is easy. The enemy, however, cannot cross the Tennessee save in squads. Grant may want you some time to feign on Rome; if so, the proper way will be to cross at Guntersville a division, very lightly equipped to move out on the old Huntsville and Rome road toward the Coosa, near Gaylesville, but of this you can judge as soon as you see the country. I would like my headquarters army in the field at Huntsville, with Thirteenth Regulars and Third U. S. Cavalry as headquarters guard.
Remember, the Fifth Ohio Cavalry belongs to you. I left it temporarily on Hiwassee, with orders to join you as soon as Colonel Long's brigade was re-enforced, but unless you watch them the regiment will be gobbled. If weather continues good I advise you to slip the corps down to their positions as soon as possible, for we are liable to have rain and very bad roads in winter. Athens, Huntsville, Paint Rock, and Larkinsville would be a good distribution for the four divisions, with outposts forward on the Tennessee at fords and ferries.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Nashville, Tennessee, December 21, 1863.
Admiral D. D. PORTER,
Commanding Mississippi Squadron, Cairo:
DEAR ADMIRAL: I have succeeded in relieving Chattanooga and Knoxville, and have left my army of the Tennessee, below Bridgeport, ready for the next move; but as some time will be consumed in the preliminary preparations, I propose to avail myself of a short respite and go home (Lancaster, Ohio) for Christmas, but will come to Cairo about January 3 to confer with you and concert some plan to stop the firing on our transports on the great river.
I want to visit Paducah for a few hours; then go to Memphis to regulate matters, and then for work. I think a short time will enable us to make a combined movement up Yazoo River to, say, Yazoo City or Tchula, where a land force moving inland could reach the Grenada road and make a finished job of it and of Grenada also. I did this last summer, but in an effort to save locomotives and cars for the Memphis road we made a mistake, and did only partially what should have been done effectually. Grenada and its road destroyed, Memphis would no longer be threatened from that quarter. Then I think I would send a force across to Monroe and the Ouachita, levying a contribution to pay the damages to boats on the river. Then, if you will, I will take all the force I can collect at