In the course of ten days I shall hope to receive an accession to my cavalry from the returning veteran regiments, and by that time my cavalry now with Sturgis will be recruited. Forrest will then be hovering around you. I shall be glad o then send the Vicksburg cavalry to that point overland, with a force of cavalry from here to see them safely through. I would send them out to the line of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, with instructions to follow the line from Tupelo well down to Meridian and effectually destroy the road so that it cannot again be repaired. I would then have them strike across to Yazoo City, destroying the railroad on the way between Canton and Grenada and capture Yazoo City if in possession of the enemy. If Yazoo City is occupied by the enemy, a force with gun-boats could be sent up from Vicksburg to co-operate. After waiting at Yazoo City long enough to recruit the cavalry belonging here they could return, finishing destruction of Mississippi Central and Memphis and Mississippi Railroads, north of Grenada.
When they got ready to return from Yazoo City I would send out an infantry force from here to meet them at Panola, and see them safely back. If such a move as this should meet with approval I should like to be authorized to make it, when in my judgment it can be made successfully.
I have just received your telegram of the 6th, informing me that 5,000 militia from the northwest had been ordered to report to me. I don't want them unless the troops I now have are to be taken away, and had rather not have them. I have got all the troops I need for defense, and with my returning cavalry I can carry the war into Mississippi and Alabama, if you desire it. At Saint Louis is the Ninth Iowa Cavalry, fully armed, equipped, and mounted, 1,000 strong. They have been doing nothing for six months but guarding Benton Barracks. Why cannot we have them here?
The main object of Forrest's visit to West Tennessee, as avowed by himself, was to draw troops from General Sherman, to protect exposed points. In that he had signally failed. West Tennessee and Kentucky are now clear of any organized rebel force, and no place in this district is in any danger or in anyway threatened.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. C. WASHBURN,
Major General J. B. McPHERSON,
Commanding Department of the Tennessee.
Numbers 2. Reports of Brigadier General Samuel D. Sturgis, U. S. Army, commanding expedition.
Leake's, 15 Miles from Raleigh, May 1, 1864-2.15 p. m.
SIR: Owing to the heavy rains the roads were very bad, all the creeks being up and requiring bridges to be either repaired or rebuilt. The consequence was that the infantry did not reach Raleigh until 9 p. m. last evening. I have brought the wagons this far to enable me to get as far toward Somerville as possible to-day.
Ten miles farther will probably be all we can make.