April 15, 1864-3.40 p.m.
The rebels have captured Fort Pillow, sacked Paducah again, and have demanded surrender of Columbus, which has not yet been given up. The slaughter at Fort Pillow is great. The news came first by way of Cairo, but I telegraphed Nashville and the operator confirms the news.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Nashville, Tenn., April 15, 1864. (Received 2.30 p.m.)
General Brayman reports from Cairo the arrival of 50 wounded white soldiers from Fort Pillow, and that the place was attacked on the 12th, 50 white soldiers killed and 100 taken prisoners, and 300 blacks murdered after surrender. I don't know what these men were doing at Fort Pillow. I ordered it to be abandoned before I went to Meridian, and it was so abandoned. General Hurlbut must have sent this garrison up recently from Memphis. So many are on furlough that Grierson and Hurlbut seem to fear going out of Memphis to attack Forrest. I have no apprehension for the safety of Paducah, Columbus, or Memphis, but without drawing from Dodge, I have no force to send over there, and don't want to interrupt my plans of preparation for the great object of the spring campaign. I expect McPherson's two divisions from Vicksburg to rendezvous at Cairo from furlought about the 20th, and I look for A. J. Smith up daily from Red River. Whenever either of these commands arrive I can pen Forrest up, but will take some time to run him down. Do you want me to delay for such a purpose, but shall I go on to concentrate on Chattanooga?
I don't know what to do with Hurlbut. I know that Forrest could men him up in Memphis with 2,500 men, although Hurlbut has all of Grierson's cavalry and 2,500 white infantry, 4,000 blacks, and the citizen militia, 3,000. If you think I have time I will send a division from Dodge to Purdy, and order A. J. Smith as he comes up to strike island to Bolivar, Jackson, &c., and some across by land to the Tennessee. This may consume an extra two weeks.
Corse was at Vicksburg ready to start up the Red River the 8th.
W. T. SHERMAN,
April 15, 1864-12 m.
General J. P. TAYLOR,
No commissary has yet reported to me. Colonel Beckwith is not here. I must have by May 1 near Chattanooga a large amount of beef-cattle on the hoof, and each commissary is making separate contracts utterly useless. We cannot supply transportation for cattle.