letter and telegraph to Major General James B. McPherson, commanding Department of the Tennesse e, Huntsville, Ala., and Major General, C. C. Washburn, commanding, &c., at Memphis, Tenn., for detailed instructions.
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By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
R. M. SAWYER,
HDQRS. DEPT. AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Huntsville, Ala., April 20, 1864.
Brigadier General HENRY PRINCE:
(Care of Commanding Officer, Cairo, Ill.)
GENERAL: In accordance with instructions from Lieutenant General U. S. Grant, you are hereby assigned to the command of the Defense and District of Columbus, Ky.
This district will include Paducah, and will embrace all that portion of Kentucky and Tennessee west of the Tennessee River, and north of a line running from the Big Sandy, west through Paris to the Obion River, and thence along to the Mississippi River. You must not understand, however, that you are expressly limited to this section in your operations. If the enemy makes his appearance and you can strike him to advantage, do so, within regard to district lines, and follow him as long as you can do so advantageously. All the forces along the Ohio and Mississippi in this department must strike the enemy whenever and wherever they can. At present the forces within your jurisdiction are in a sort of transition state, a portion of them being for a special purpose. As soon as it can be done with safety, I want all the detachments and the battery belonging to the Seventeenth Army Corps sent to Cairo to join their respective divisions which are ordered to rendezvous at that place. Three regiments of infantry have been ordered from Saint Louis with which to re-enforce Paducah, Cairo, and Columbus, Ky., and to feel out toward Union City. Union City, however, is not to be held permanently, but visited frequently by patrols and scouting parties. Paducah, Cairo, Columbus, Memphis, Vicksburg, and Natchez are to be held at all hazards. All points which are weak and exposed must be evacuated. The system of small isolated posts is a bad one one. They add very little to the safety of navigation on the river or the security of the country, and are liable to be surprised and captured. A few strong posts, with good defensive works, and a thorough system of scouts and patrols, with gun-boats running up and down the river, will accomplish our object much better. As soon as the veteran regiments belonging to the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Army Corps, now on furlough, return, your force will be regularly assigned and thoroughly organized. You will make your regular reports and returns to the headquarters of the commanding officer District of Memphis, Tenn.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON.
GENERAL ORDERS.] COLUMBUS, KY.,
April 28, 1864.
Pursuant to Special Orders, Numbers 34, dated headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, Nashville, Tenn., April 24, 1864, the undersigned assumes command of this district.