Woods go along; the matter of overstaying his leave can as well be inquired into when he returns. It is time now that we must look to [sic].
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Vicksburg, Miss., March 12, 1864.
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding Mil. Div. of the Mississippi, Nashville, Tenn.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of letter*
to Major-General Sherman, commanding the Department of the Tennessee, requesting to be transferred to the field of operations in Southern Tennessee and Northern Alabama and Georgia. Also list of regiments in my command which have enlisted as veterans.
I desire you to have a full and complete understanding of the case, as many of the officers and enlisted men in these regiments are being to feel that they are not fairly dealt by. I write this in no spirit of complaint, as I am now, as I always have been, ready and willing to do everything in my power to bring this war to a successful termination and to obey the orders of my superiors.
When the orders and instructions from the War Department relating to the enlistment of veterans were received here the officers and enlisted men of my command entered into the spirit of the matter with commendable zeal, influenced by motives of patriotism, the prospect of getting a furlough, of receiving the liberal bounty offered by the Government, and the chances of getting home to recruit their regiment and thus keep up their organization after their original three years had expired.
About the middle of January instructions were received from the major-general commanding the department that a certain portion of my command would be required about the 1st of February to make a shot campaign into the interior of this State. I had then furloughed only two regiments, immediately informed the command that their services would be required in the field, and that I could furlough no more of them at present. Without a dissenting voice they expressed their readiness to go on the expedition,expecting a furlough shortly after their return. Immediately after getting back I furnished 2,500 men for the Red River expedition, and am still, without any additional force being sent me, expected to proceed to protect and keep open the Mississippi River and exercise my discretion about furloughing veteran regiments. Without some change many of the regiments will not be able to get their furloughs for months to come. The men will be disappointed in their well-founded expectations and disheartened, and the one great object the officers had in view, viz, getting home to recruit their regiments, defeated.
Already we are beginning to feel the effects, as regiments have been sent home from other commands and are being filled up with recruits, while the regiments of my command, not having the same opportunities, are getting comparatively none.
As there, is a prospect of a good deal of hard fighting before the war is over, I think it is of the utmost importance that the strength and esprit of the army be kept up.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON.
* See p. 35.