March 28, 1864.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Cairo, Ill.:
The wives and children of the officers at this post have been placed on board the Crawford instead of the Jewess, as I indicated in my dispatch to Mr. Olds. Anything that you can do or advise to procure them comfort will be appreciated.
Forrest is concentrating at Clinton. Lightest force at Blandville at latest accounts. They will in all probability come in two columns. The men who came from Madrid are disciplined, and will add greatly to the defense of the place; will try to keep you advised of matters here.
C. B. SMITH,
Lieutenant and Aide-de-Camp.
HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, Tenn., March 28, 1864.
Major L. F. BOOTH,
Commanding First Battalion, First Alabama Siege Artillery:
SIR: You will proceed with your own battalion to Fort Pillow and establish your force in garrison of the works there. As you will be, if I am correct in my memory, the senior officer at that post, you will take command, conferring, however, freely and fully with Major Bradford, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, whom you will find a good officer, though not of much experience.
There are two points of land fortified at Fort Pillow, one of which only is now held by our troops. You will occupy both, either with your own troops alone, or holding one with yours and giving the other in charge to Major Bradford.
The positions are commanding and can be held by a small force against almost any odds.
I shall send you at this time two 12-pounder howitzers, as I hope it will not be necessary to mount heavy guns.
You will, however, immediately examine the ground and the works, and if in your opinion 20-pounder Parrotts can be advantageously used, I will order them to you. My own opinion is that there is not range enough. Major Bradford is well acquainted with the country, and should keep scouts well out and forward all information received direct to me.
I think Forrest's check at Paducah will not dispose him to try the river again, but that he will fall back to Jackson and thence cross the Tennessee. As soon as this is ascertained I shall withdraw your garrison.
Nevertheless, act promptly in putting the work in perfect order and the post into its strongest defense. Allow as little intercourse as possible with the country and cause all supplies which go out to be examined with great strictness. No man whose loyalty is questionable should be allowed to come in or go out while the enemy is in West Tennessee. The post must be held.
Your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT,