is in Memphis mounting 3,500 men for service in West Tennessee. The indications are that Forrest is to be driven out. I think an effort should be made to relieve him by threatening or taking Memphis. I believe it practicable with 6,000 infantry and the cavalry in North Mississippi to take and hold Memphis thirty-sixth hours. The cavalry in front of Vicksburg has been weakened by two brigades, one being on the Mississippi River in the vicinity of Natchez and the other now en route for the vicinity of Greenville, the object of these two brigades being to cover the crossing of arms to the
Trans-Mississippi Department. Four regiments of cavalry will remain in front of Vicksburg and the Yazoo River. The effective cavalry in North Mississippi is only about 2,500 or 3,000 owing to the condition of the horses of Ferguson's brigade from the recent trips to North Alabama and to the railroad.
If Loring's division could be replaced at Canton temporarily, I think a successful trip could be made to Memphis. At any rate a diversion should be made in favor of General Forrest, if such a trip does not interfere with other and more important moves.
I will be in Grenada to-morrow afternoon.
I am, colonel, yours, respectfully,
S. D. LEE,
BRANDON, December 20, 1863.
Maj. W. H. DAMERON,
Chief Commissary Subsistence of Mississippi, Meridian:
A force is about to operate for a time west of the Yazoo River. If you wish to do anything in that direction, your agents will have a favorable opportunity.
BENJ. S. EWELL,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, Mobile, Ala., December 21, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: In reply to your telegram of the 19th instant, asking about the relieving of General Shoup and the applying for General Moore, I have the honor to state that in September the enemy in New Orleans was preparing an expedition against Mobile. Maxey's brigade was sent to re-enforce me. General Maxey was ordered to Arkansas.
I applied for General Moore to be sent to me, designing to place him in command of that brigade. Colonel Quarles was promoted to command it. September 25, Colonel Llewellyn Powell died. Same day General Shoup reported to me for duty, and I assigned him to command of Powell's brigade (the forts on the Gulf).
General Shoup was compelled by ill-health to leave his command, and while he was absent I applied for Colonel Higgins to be appointed brigadier-general to command the forts. I supposed him to possess peculiar qualifications for this particular command on account