From Tennessee River in this direction: Ready for iron, 18 miles; grading yet to be done, 6 miles.
Colonel Innes, First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, reports that he requires two more negro regiments, [with] which, in addition to some 300 of McCallum's men (he understands is ordered to report to him, and that if the quartermaster will send forward the iron he changed one or two more engines to send forward the iron he can get one or two more engines to send to the Tennessee River), he can finish the road ready for business in sixty days. Fifteen hundred tons of iron for that road left Pittsburg for this place three days ago. I shall endeavor to supply Colonel Innes with the forces he disires as soon as it may be done.
The Fourteenth Michigan (Colonel Mizner) is re-enlisting, and will soon probably go on furlough as veterans. Other troops will have to fill their place.
The road to Columbia, including bridges built, was repaired by men principally under my command. Some time since, as you were informed at the time, I sent a regiment of colored troops to guard at small bridges and to erect stockades. This I thought necessary, as squads of the enemy were going through the country and might interrupt transportation by the destruction of those bridges.
When General Ward's brigade, now ordered to the front, shall leave here, there will not be enough troops to guard the railroad between this and Murfreesborough and the supplies at this point. There will then be but four regiments left here-the Thirteenth Wisconsin, Seventy-third Ohio; one of them must be sent on the railroad toward Murfreesborough.
The Thirteenth Wisconsin has re-enlisted and will soon go home, thus leaving two regiments of infantry and Colonel Galbraith's battalion of cavalry to guard this place. It seems to me that now one of the two regiments at McMinnville could be spared from that point-Twenty-third Missouri Volunteers-to this place, thus leaving Colonel Gilbert, the more efficient of the two, in command of the post. It is hoped that the bridge now being built by him will be finished by the time the Twenty-third Missouri starts for this place, if you think it should be so ordered; but even the addition of that regiment will not afford a sufficient guard for the supplies here. I have telegraphed on this subject to-day. The Eighth Iowa Cavalry is on the line of Northwestern Railroad, and General Gillem thinks it is needed there.
LOVELL H. ROUSSEAU,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, Vicksburg, January 30, 1864.
Major General U. S. GRANT,
Arrived last night. McPherson all ready. Hurlbut behind time. All things favorable thus far for movement on Meridian. General Banks sends an officer to engage for the Red River expedition twenty-five boats. He writes me on the faith of General Halleck that Steele and I are to co-operate with him. March 1 is as early as we should move on Shreveport, and the movements of Admiral Porter should