War of the Rebellion: Serial 056 Page 0497 Chapter XLIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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the mountain roads till late in the winter; at least, it is so represented here. Your plan of diminishing the forces at Chattanooga so as to increase the supplies seems perfectly correct. If you can carry into effect your idea of forcing the enemy to fight you in the next campaign on ground of your own selection, it will be a great gain. In most of our operations heretofore the rebels have had an advantage of us in this respect.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



LANCASTER, OHIO, December 26, 1863.

(Received 12 m.)

Major General H. W. HALLECK,


Mr. Ewing's health and distress of my family almost forced me to come here for a few days, but I will be at Cairo and down the Mississippi by January 2, and strike Grenada and Shreveport, if the admiral agrees. Hope to be back to my army at Huntsville by the time the Decatur road is done and before Grant can move. I left my command ragged, but in splendid fighting order. I fear the furloughs to veteran regiments may cripple us this spring. Will write you by mail at length.



LANCASTER, OHIO, December 26, 1863.

Major-General HALLECK,

Washington, D. C..

DEAR GENERAL: I left my army in the field moving from Bridgeport to Huntsville, with orders to put in repair the railroad from Stevenson to Decatur, and Dodge's division, of the Sixteenth Corps, has been at work from Columbia to Decatur. I estimate it will take six weeks for these two roads to be available.

With General Grant's consent, I have come here for a few days to comfort my family, almost heart-broken at the death of our oldest boy and at the declining health of Mr. and Mrs. Ewing. I find all in better health than I had reason to expect, and on the 1st I shall start for Cairo, where by appointment I shall meet Admiral Porter to concert measures to check the attacks on our boats navigating the Mississippi.

I propose to send an expedition up the Yazoo City, to march back

to the Grenada road and do a certain amount of damage, and give general notice that for every boat fired on we will destroy some inland town, and, if need be, fire on houses, even if they have families, for I know the secessionists have boasted that although we have the river, still it shall do ut no good. Now, there is complicity between guerrillas and the people, and if the latter fire on our boats loaded with women and children, we should retaliate.

I shall send from Milliken's Bend over to the Washita (Monroe or Harrisonburg) a brigade of negroes, and hold that rich district responsible for the safety of the main river from the mouth of Red