The forts at Choctaw and Oven Bluffs have been long decided to be the true line of defense above Mobile. I hope if a civilian be charged with the construction of any works of a military character within the limits of this department he will be placed under the immediate control of the chief engineer of the department.
DABNEY H. MAURY,
January 22, 1864.
The brigade of General Baldwin and Quarles will report for duty to you for the present. You will dispose of them as you think best.
HEADQUARTERS CHALMERS' CAVALRY,
January 22, 1864.
Major J. P. STRANGE,
MAJOR: I have just returned. I sent Colonel Chalmers to Memphis to notify the enemy I was in Hernando. He was stopped at Nonconnah, and came back under the belief that the movement from Memphis had already commenced down the railroad. I left him to complete the exchange and came back.
I respectfully suggest that this command should be withdrawn to the south side of Tullahatchie. If we wait until we are compelled by superior numbers to fall back it will injure the morale of our troops and probably cause desertions. I do not think the enemy will come this way or attempt to cross at Panola. I think they will attempt to cross east of Panola, or probably east of Abbeville, with their cavalry. They are said to have one month's rations in wagons.
Very respectfully, yours,
JAS R. CHALMERS,
JACKSON, January 22, 1864.
The general desires me to say that he is disappointed in not finding the 100 men ordered to report to Major Meriwether at this place. Send them as soon as you can, with their entrenching tools.
By order of Lieutenant-General Polk:
W. D. GALE,
COMO, MISS., January 22, 1864.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS:
I find General Forrest greatly embarrassed in his operations here by parties professing to have authority from Governor Clark to raise