Adams, is down behind port Hudson and Baton Rouge, doubtless to prevent the people from becoming too familiar with Yankess. I have one of my best Memphis private spies out, who will be back in time to let me know all we want. Observe you were right in your calculation that Longstreet would be re-enforced in East Tennessee and make a struggle for that mention region. Halleck should compel a movement in North Carolina on Weldon and Raleigh, if possible, which would, in connection with active demonstrations against the Alabama border, force the enemy to call back the re-enforcements or to allow these valuable district to be overrun by us. If we could draw all of Lee's army into East Tennessee they would be bound to go ahead or fall back. The mountains on either flank will restrict their line to the railroad, and the army which is on the defensive has the advantage. I will to Logan and Dodge to hurry the railroad and try and be there in all [sic] February. The fortification of Vicksburg are nearly done, the redoubt at Mrs. Lane's house being the only one incomplete. McPherson tells me those of natchez are equally advanced.
I am, with great respect,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Boat trembles, and my writing is more illegible than ever.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, ON BOARD GUN-BOAT SILVER CLOUD,
In motion near White River, January 19, 1864.
Admiral D. D. PORTER,
Commanding Mississippi Squadron, Cairo:
DEAR ADMIRAL: You will have learn are this our safe arrival at Memphis in the Juliet. The ice was very bad, almost gorging at many points, especially at Randolph, but we got through all safe by the good management of Captain Watson. I found him a most agreeable and courteous commander, an he did everything possible for our comfort and safety. After staying two days at Memphis making the necessary orders for my troops, and finding no transport bound down river, Captain Phelps, who happened at Memphis, most kindly offered to send me to Vicksburg in this boat, the Silver Could, Captain O'Neil. I hale been to Vicksburg and find all things well there, and am now returning to Memphis, where I propose to embark about 10,000 men for Vicksburg, whence, re-enforced by about a like force, I will move due east to reach Meridan and Demopolis. I have about 6,000 available cavalry, which I propose to move down the Mobile and Ohio object you will appreciate at a glance. If I can destroy the railroad at Meridan,a s we did those at jackson last summer, it will be impossible for the enemy to maintain any considerable force in Mississippi. I think I can do it; at all events will try. I find the main river about 12 feet lower than it was last winter, therefore any attempt to reach Shreveport till a considerable rise be idle; but I learned that Yazoo is navigable to a point up Sunflower, and therefore I instructed General McPherson to send two regiment up Yazoo to reconnoiter and divert attention.