and 5 deserters from the rebel army. I am now collecting all the cavalry we can get hold of in West Tennessee for a movement in concert with the one which General Sherman proposes. He is organizing for it with his characteristic energy, and wishes the co-operation of our whole cavalry force. After Forrest had escaped from West Tennessee I did not think it necessary or advisable to bring Crook's division across the Tennessee River, except two regiments which reached Savannah before we crossed over. By seizing all the serviceable horses and mules within our reach we can mount and put into the field 4,000 of the cavalry of this district, and this, with the 2,500 I brought with me, will be ample. We are seizing animals here just as we did in Nashville, and will get about 300 fine horses by the operation. Forrest, Lee, and Chalmers are reported to be along the Tallahatchie and in the country between that and the Coldwater, with an effective force of 5,000 or 6,000 men. I have been anxious to attack him at once, but General Sherman thinks I had better await his movement, and in the mean time collect, organize, and supply my command. Crook can collect and reorganize his division and complete his mounting and equipment in preparation for the spring campaign. I must at once adopt some reformatory measures to secure better care of horses, and I am inclined to think that we will have to muster out of service a great many cavalry officers who are neglecting existing orders on that subject before the stupendous evil can be reached and corrected. By my own personal attention to the stock on our march I have secured good care for it, and it is in as serviceable condition as when we started. Every effort should be made between this and spring to get our cavalry thoroughly mounted, armed, equipped, and organized. I will communicate with the ordnance and cavalry bureaus and make known our wants and endeavor to get them supplied.
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
WM. SOOY SMITH,
Chief of Cavalry, Division of the Mississippi.
CORINTH, January 12, 1864-9.10 p.m.
In order to promptly execute your order I should not be embarrassed by Colonel Mizner and command encumbering the road with trains of old shanties torn to pieces. In addition, he has ordered First Alabama Cavalry to move to Memphis. This order should be countermarched until such time as I indicate that it should be made. Camp Davies is an important outpost to me and should be under my sole control for the time being. With prompt co-operation on part of General Webster your order can be speedily complied with; without it, then it will be a work of time. I have at least 600 wives and children of Federal soldiers that require to be cared for, and also about the same number or more contrabands, for whom Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips should immediately provide. What about traders with Treasury permits, and their stocks? We should dispose of them.
JNO. D. STEVENSON,