HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, Tennessee, December 28, 1863.
Colonel W. H. MORGAN,
Hold your command in readiness to move. Direct Lieutenant Belden to open communication by messenger to Moscow and thence by telegraph with Grierson and inform him of Forrest's movement. Let the Ninth Illinois Cavalry follow the enemy, and move your infantry and battery down toward Coldwater, to act according to circumstances, if you do not hear from Grierson by 12 m. Forrest will try to cross Coldwater and must do it on a ferry or else lead off to the east toward Holly Springs. Take a few mounted men with you to act as couriers.
S. A. HURLBUT,
December 29, 1863.
General U. S. GRANT,
DEAR GENERAL: I got home Christmas day.*
I hardly realized till I got here the intense interest felt for us. Our army is on all lips, and were you to come to Ohio, you would hardly be allowed to eat a meal, from the intense curiosity to see you and hear you. I have got along as quietly as possible, and expect to leave on Friday for Cairo as noiselessly as possible. I will be at Cairo the day appointed, viz, January 2, or 3 at furthest. I have dispatches from Hurlbut which satisfy me that all things will be in readiness for my coming.
I have written to Admiral Porter to collect accurate accounts of all damages to steam-boats on the Mississippi, with the localities where they occurred.
I think that we can hold the people on Yazoo and back responsible for all damages above Vicksburg, the country on Ouachita for all damages between the mouth of Red and Arkansas on the west bank, and finally the rich country up Red River for the more aggravated cases near the mouth of Red River. We should make planters pay in cotton not only for the damages done, but the cost of our occupation, and in case of failure to pay we should inflict exemplary punishment.
I think we have force enough on the river to do all this. Hurlbut can spare 5,000 men and McPherson, 3,000, and I will order Hawkins with his whole negro force to go to the Ouchita. No part of this force should remain longer than is necessary to produce these results, and leave general notice that similar visitations will be repeated on every attack upon the boats navigating the Mississippi from Cairo to the mouth, for we must treat the river as one idea. As long as the enemy held any part of it the case was different, but
*Some strictly personal matter omitted.