reached as high as Alexandria. My best impression is that it will be impossible for him to get up as far as this point before 1st of May.
I am exceedingly desirous, in case the enemy continue to occupy West Tennessee, Tennessee, to push a column of about 5,000 men out from this place into the country. They can march to the Tennessee at any given point as rapidly as they can be transported, with their wagons, &c., by river. I do not, however, feel myself at liberty to deviate from General Sherman's orders as to their line of march. The trains for the command are here, and can be shipped at any time when deemed advisable.
The city is full of all kinds of flying reports. Many persons believe that infantry of Polk's army are at Corinth, and some say at La Grange. I have sent out many messengers, who do not return as yet. Lee unquestionably left Grenada on Sunday last, and went east. My informant saw them go.
There is no doubt but that the Mobile and Ohio Railroad has been fully repaired and is now running, or will be in a day or two, to Corinth. This gives them a new base on your flank, and exposes the Tennessee equally with West Tennessee.
There is no force of any consequence between here and Vicksburg, and I expect a concentration of all their spare strength, with Corinth for [a] base. Of these things you are no doubt advised from other sources.
I have considered it necessary to order up the remnant of the Third Division of your corps to this place as soon as it can be spared. You are aware that Memphis itself, if attacked by a competent force, is not a defensible point. My instructions, in such an event, are to draw in the outside camp within Gayoso, destroy the bridges, and hold that line as long as it may be tenable, keeping always communications open with the fort as matter of last resort. This, of course, implies attack by a very serious force. Nothing but infantry, with competent artillery, can induce such action.
Unless, therefore, some union shall be made of infantry arriving via Corinth with the force now in West Tennessee, so as to very largely outnumber the present garrison, I have no expectation of attack upon the city, and the less so as it is very generally and properly understood that as a last resort I will destroy the city before it shall be held by the enemy. Still, I consider the situation in West Tennessee very precarious and one that calls for the early concentration of troops to drive the enemy from their location.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT,
HEADQUARTERS POST AND DEFENSES,
Vicksburg, Miss., April 17, 1864.
Colonel H. SCHOFIELD,
Commanding Second Brigadier, First Div., U. S. Colored Troops:
COLONEL: You will proceed with two regiments of your command and Osband's cavalry, together with the Seventeenth Illinois Infantry and one battalion of Tenth Missouri Cavalry, with one section of artillery (that have been ordered to report to you), to Yazoo City, reaching there by land, taking five days' rations and 100 rounds of