from your present line on Rome and the Coosa. You will have the longest marches, and it may be the hardest knocks, but you have the elements of the best army. You will have nine divisions, averaging from 4,000 to 5,000 men, viz: Harrow's, Smith's [Morgan L.], Osterhaus' [in which is Charles R. Woods, a magnificent officer], and John E. Smith's, composing the Fifteenth Corps; Logan's, Vetach,s, Sweeny's, and A. J. Smith's, under Dodge, and Crocker's and Leggett's, under Frank Blair. I am told Blair will soon leave Washington. I wrote him he would be wanted by April 20 at Cairo; you may telegraph him.
You had better begin moving up to Clifton your regiments and wagons as fast as they accumulate at Cairo. You can get steamers plenty at Cairo and Saint Louis.
Grant says he will be all ready April 25, and whn he moves we must. Thomas and Schofield are progressing well in their preparations.
W. T. SHERMAN,
PRIVATE.] HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Nashville, Tenn., April 11, 1864.
Major General S. A. HURLBUT,
Commanding District of Mississippi, Memphis, Tenn.:
DEAR GENERAL: The withdrawal of Veatch from Purdy without orders makes it easy for Forrest to escape with his plunder and stolen horses, and I doubt not he will escape Grierson. It is too late to remedy so fatal a mistake.
Two division of McPherson's will soon be at Cairo, but we are so intent now on the preparations of the grand operations soon to open that we cannot divert troops for minor things. These two divisions and A. J. Smith's command must hasten to join onto McPherson's right via the Tennessee River and Clifton. Not one hour must be lost. In taking A. J. Smith's division I feel that I strip you pretty close, but it can't be helped. We will need all the effective force we can gather to fulfill the part assigned us from this quarter.
Joe Johnston must be attacked in his chosen position, and at the same time other grand movements will occur on other distant fields, but all subordinate to one grand plan. The Mississippi must, in the meant time, be left on the defensive. Gun-boats and transports now patrol it in its whole length, and the enemy cannot reach it save with muskets and small field pieces. We hold Natchez, Vicksburg, Memphis, and Columbus with heavy artillery, and I think the troops now there ample for defense, and I would be glad if the enemy continues to keep Forrest's and Lee's cavalry there, as also Polk's infantry, but I am sure these or nearly all will soon swing over to the line of the Alabama.
General Slocum has been selected by General Grant as commander of the District of Vicksburg, which incloses Natchez and the Yazoo and ought to be extended also to embrace the Washita. I think you could safely leave Buckland at Memphis, and the garrisons as now at Columbus and Paducah, and yourself take post at Cairo, with a good regiment in reserve, which you can take out of A. J. Smith's division. Then from Cairo you can direct all movements looking to the safety of the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers as lines of opera-