JANUARY 24, 1864.
Let the fortifications alone. Bring in your entire command, and leave the country to God and the cavalry.
S. A. HURLBUT,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, Memphis, January 24, 1864.
Major General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding Division of the Mississippi:
DEAR GENERAL: I have received at the hands of Colonel Duff your letter of the 15th instant, with copies of yours to General Halleck and those of General Halleck to you and General Steele. All these concur in their general plan, and y acts thus far are perfectly in accordance. The Sixteenth Corps had become so domiciled at Memphis and along the railroad that it is like pulling teeth to get them started, but I think three division (Veatch's, Tuttle's, and A. J. Smith's) will be embarked to-day and to-morrow for the south. The cavalry under General William Sooy Smith should also be ready to-morrow, the day appointed, when I will start the former in the boats already collected here for Vicksburg, and the latter by land in light order for Pontotoc, Okolona, Meridian, &c. As soon as the cavalry is off I will haste for Vicksburg, and with the infantry and a sufficient force of artillery (double-teamed) will start for Black River, Jackson, Brandon, and Meridian. I will use all caution, and feel no doubt unless Johnston had caught wind of our movement and brought an additional force from Georgia, which I do not believe. I have that William Sooy Smith will have a force of cavalry superior to that of Forret and Stephen D. Lee, which is all that can meet him, and General Polk cannot have at Canton, Brandon, and Meridian a force to beat me. Admiral Porter is hourly looked for, and I will confer with him. I will ask him to send a squadron of light-draught gun-boats up the Yazoo, and may send Hawkins up as far as Greenwood with orders, if the opportunity offers, to strike Grenada another blow. This would make a diversion, confuse the enemy, and demonstrate the value to us as a military channel of the Yazoo. It my be that Forrest will let Smith pass down and make a dash for Memphis. I leave General Buckland in command here with about 3,200 men. These, with the fort, will assure the safety of the place, but in addition General Veatch, under my orders, has enrolled three regiments of citizens, to whom I will issue arms, partial clothing, and ammunition, and have ordered the quartmaster to set aside for their use as armories cotton sheds, which will make excellent citadels or block-houses. The mayor and citizens offered me a dinner, and I had to accept. I recall your experience, and as the affair comes off to-night I will try to be cautions in any remarks I will be forced to make. I pity you when you will have to go back to the States, for you will not be allowed to eat or sleep for the curious intrusion of the dear people. Red River is still low, but should it rise by the time we get back form Meridian I will be tempted to help again Shreveport. Steele could move