HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Nashville, April 18, 1864.
Dispatch of 17th from Woodville is received. General Slocum started this morning for Vicksburg. I have sent Sturgis down to Memphis to give life to that command, and want to put some of your furloughed men down to the neighborhood of Purdy as soon as possible. I will telegraph to Indiana for Gresham.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Huntsville, Ala., April 18, 1864.
Brigadier General W. Q. GRESHAM,
Commanding Fourth Division, 17th Army Corps, Cairo, Ill.:
GENERAL: You will proceed immediately to organize the detachments of regiments belonging to the Fourth Division (a list of which is herewith inclosed*), which may be at Cairo and vicinity, into an effective force, to which you will add any veteran regiments belonging to the Third or Fourth Divisions, Leggett's and Crocker's, of the Seventeenth Army Corps, which may be returning from furlough, in order to bring your command up to 3,000 or upward.
Select from the artillery of the Fourth Division one 6-gun battery, or at the rate of four guns for a thousand men, to accompany you. Embark with this force on transports as soon as possible and proceed up the Tennessee River to Savannah or Crump's Landing, where you will disembark and push out to Purdy and the Hatchie to operate against Forrest and cut off his retreat if possible.
You should come up provided with 100 rounds of infantry ammunition to the man, besides that in cartridge-boxes, and 200 rounds of artillery ammunition per piece; fifteen days' rations of hard, bread and small-stores, and ten days' rations of meat, and without camp and garrison equipage. Bring along transportation enough to carry your supplies, and ammunition, cooking utensils for the men, and the minimum amount of baggage for the officers. The pioneer corps of the Fourth Division should accompany you.
On your arrival at Purdy you will have to be governed very much by your judgment and discretion, the great object being to whip Forrest and prevent him from getting away with his plunder. Forrest's style of fighting is bold and dashing, and he will maneuver to attack you in front and on both flanks at the same time. In this case dash through him in force, and then sweep around him on the detached parties. Try and open communication with Memphis so as to act in conjunction with the force operating from there.
Should you learn that Forrest has crossed the Tennessee River, and be certain of the fact, you will move to Pulaski via Savannah or Clifton. Communicate with me as often as possible via Clifton.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON,
* Not found.