this post of the veteran cavalry. If, however, I am to judge by the reports I receive, my cavalry regiments will remain dismounted for a long time. The Third Michigan, 1,300 strong, and Seventh Kansas, 1,100 strong, have been three weeks at Saint Louis, waiting horses. I have here but 2,200 horses.
I further suggest that the colored troops in this command should be fully under the conytrol of the commanding general, and that the system by which Bigadier-General Thomas is authorized to issue independent orders direct to them, without passing through my headquarters, is injurious in every respect.
My view of the best mode of covering that wretched speculation, Government-leased plantations, is to occupy Yazoo City with one regiment white troops, two of colored infantry, and Osband's colored cavalry, with a good battery under a good officer. Osband's negro cavalry are ggood, and if properly armed they will handle Ross' brigade. They now require 700 carbines, which I have not to give them. With this force at Yazoo City Grenada would not be tenable, except by heavy force, which cannot be spared.
The cotton of th Yazoo, for which article the war seems to be carried on, would be brought out and Memphis would be covered by a threat from that base of operations.
A similar occupation of Harrisonburg would cover the west bank if our movement up Red River proves a success. The Marine Brigade could then be employed, not on regular and known beats, but suddenly and at unexpected times and places, to advantage, and my cavalry division, when recruited and mounted, keep West Tennessee and Northern Mississippi in order.
Memphis and Vicksburg should be able at any time to throw out a full division in any direction required as a movable column without reducing the necessary garrison, and by joining the two columns be enabled to send a force of 10,000 effective men to the Tombigbee or the Coosa as you move down. This, however, cannot be done if the colored troops are to be scattered up and down the river as plantation guards.
If my requisitions for horses are met with any promptness, I can move 7,000 good and well-armed cavalry by the 15th of May. It is the absence of veterans and the lack of horses that has caused the Forrest raid.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT,
WOODVILLE, ALA., April 10, 1864.
Brigadier General M. L. SMITH,
Thanks for your notice. I received the same information yesterday and sent out patrols as strong as I could. If you have any mounted force at all, I would suggest that you have them patrol the river down to opposite the head of Pine Island. They can then cooperate with my forces. This will secure our front and give us timely information of any movements.
P. J. OSTERHAUS,