Give orders that the wagons, mules, and detachments of your two divisions be carried up to Clifton, and make up a force out of these detachments and the first regiments to arrive at Cairo to ascend the Tennessee and strike at Forrest inland. Were Veatch now at Purdy this would be certain of success.
It may also be necessary for you to send a force across from Pulaski to Savannah and Purdy to cure that mistake. Notify General Slocum to hasten to Vicksburg and put in active motion the troops there to occupy the full attention of Lee's cavalry and prevent their going to Forrest. I have good information that Loring's infantry is moving eastward; they were at Montgomery on Monday last. It is all humbug about their repairing the railroad, though the railroad companies are working to that end for supplies to the city of Mobile.
I expect of hear of A. J. Smith in a day or so, but he had better hurry round to the Tennessee River. Steele is moving too slow. He had stopped on the 6th at Camden to await provisions from Pine Bluff, but I have reason to believe that Generals Smith and Banks, with gun-boats, were well up toward Shreveport.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. CHIEF OF CAV. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Nashville, Tenn., April 16, 1864.
Brigadier General J. W. DAVIDSON,
Chief of West Div., Cav. Bureau, Saint Louis, Mo.:
SIR: Your favor of the 11th instant is just received, and, together with the enclosures, will be submitted to General Sherman, as you request. The paragraph to which you refer in my letter of the 8th instant was in no wise intended nor calculated to reflect upon you. I have every reason and disposition to believe that you are doing all that is in your power to supply the enormous demands made upon the cavalry bureau for horses, arms, and equipments. The points of purchase should in my opinion, be the centers of districts which contain the most horses. These will not always coincide with the large cities, especially where agents have been purchasing in those cities ever since the commencement of the war. You do not personally make purchases, and if those who do remain in our largest cities, awaiting stock, instead of penetrating the region in which it is to be found speedily, I do not believe that the inducement of vouchers discounted at from 2 to 5 per cent. will draw together horses in sufficient to supply us as soon as they will be required to enable us to perform our proper part in the coming campaign. If certificates on indebtedness could be given, instead of vouchers, or in payment of them promptly, or, better still, if funds could be supplied to those making purchases, I feel sure that stock would come in much more freely.
These things were barely hinted at in my letter of the 8th, with a desire to assist you simply. The inspectors you have had occasion to relieve were not of my suggestion. Mathews, Hobitzell, and Beaton were nominated by me. I would suggest that you relieve O'Connell and Rendlebrock, of the Fourth U. S. Cavalry, as soon as they can possibly be spared, as their regiment is almost stripped of its commissioned officers.