In passing Skipwith's I saw Captain Owen, and requested him to let General McPherson have one tin-clad, with he agreed to do within five days. He explained to me that he would have to leave Greenville exposed for the time, but I know that the more appearance of a force up Yazoo will do more to prevent the enemy showing himself at Greenville than a boat at Greenville; besides, if necessary, general McPherson can send the Marine Brigade to that point. I would use the brigade up Yazoo, but their boats draw too much water. I can hear of no attempt to permanently threaten the Mississippi. The firing on boats at Greenville and Rodney was the work of the enemy, who was engaged in passing a lot of muskets from the east to the west bank of the river. In this they partially succeeded, but it amounts to little. If on arrival at Memphis I find my arrangements have not been delayed by the ice above, I expect to put all my forces in motion by January 25 and to be at Meridian February 8 or 10. I would like to be back by the 20th, at which time I should return to Huntsville. If by that time you calculate Red River will be in condition, and you want to make the Shreveport move, if you will procure General Grant's orders I will be most happy to go along. Excuse apparent haste, but boat trembles.
As ever, your friend.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Vicksburg, Miss., January 19, 1864.
Colonel E. D. OSBAND,
COLONEL: I send this up by the steamer Madison, which, together with the Era and Chenango, now up the river, and which have been order to Skipwith's, will be sufficient to move your command. As soon as the boats arrive you will embark and proceed directly to Snyder's Bluff, on the Yazoo River, where you will disembark as rapidly as possible and direct the boats to report to Captain Fort, master of transportation at this place. Snyder's Bluff will be your station for the present, and in disembarking you will place your command in a good defensive position and make your men comfortable. You will bring down all your stores, camp and garrison equipage, sick, &c., completely breaking up the post.
You will also bring what forage you can, as we are very short and it is scarce in the vicinity of Haynes' and Snyder's bluffs.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON,
OFFICE PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL EAST TENNESSEE,
Knoxville, January 19, 1864.
Mr. W. P. Eddington, having just report at this office from Sevierville, Sevier Country, Tenn., makes the following statements:
Learned from several reliable person that a force of rebel cavalry, presumed to be 4,000 strong, crossed the French Broad at