HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, Tenn., April 18, 1864.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: Your telegram of the 16th instant was received last night. I shall of course obey the orders contained, although they are exceedingly vague. I am ready to turn over the command of the Sixteenth Army Corps whenever you will oblige me by designating the officer to whom it shall be turned over.
As I command only the Sixteenth Army Corps I cannot consider that Lieutenant-General Grant means by "relieving me" anything else then relieving me of that command. Duty, however, to the public service requires that in the order relieving me some other officer be designated to take the command.
I shall proceed to Cairo, as ordered, as soon as I can sign off the official records and papers of the corps, and shall go to-morrow or Wednesday. As I already command the troops at Cairo I am somewhat at a loss to understand your directions "to take command there," but expect to find full instructions from you on my arrival.
Portions of your telegram are of such a nature as justify and, in fact, require that I should demand a court of inquiry, where all the facts and circumstances may be developed, and your charge of "marked timidity" be proven or disproved. When that shall have been done and the responsibility of the late disasters fixed upon the proper parties, I shall do myself the justice of tendering to the President of the United States my resignation of a commission which cannot be advantageously held by me in subordination to officers who entertain and express the opinions contained in your dispatch.
I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT,
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Nashville, Tenn., April 18, 1864
Don't diminish the garrison at Paducah for the present. General Grant notifies me he has ordered three regiments from Saint Louis to Cairo. When they reach Cairo you can with them re-enforce Paducah and Columbus, and then the battalion of the Sixteenth Kentucky can go to Louisville as ordered.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS
Memphis, Tenn., April 18, 1864
The honorable SECRETARY OF WAR:
Having received the following dispatch from Major General W. T. Sherman, commanding Military Division on the Mississippi, I am compelled in justice to myself and the Government to ask that a court of inquiry may be ordered at the earliest possible moment, to ascertain and report upon my administration of military affairs in connection with the recent incursion of Forrest into Tennessee and