should be sent up the Tennessee River to Purdy. This force will be isolated and have to rely upon itself, and the morale of Forrest's command no doubt is good and his men will fight determinedly.
If Gresham could be certain of co-operation from Memphis, a less force than a division would answer; but though he may expect co-operation and he ought to have it, it will not answer to count upon it too strongly. It will I am aware, require more time to get a division together, but will not the facts warrant the delay? I can send three regiments from Pulaski to Clifton to be ready to join him when he comes up.
Grasham received my telegram yesterday and would start for Cairo by first train. The detachments belonging to the Seventeenth Corps which came up from Vicksburg are somewhat scattered, and it will take a little time to get them together.
Major-General Hurlbut stopped one battery at Memphis; the guns of another were taken off at Columbus and the troops divided up between Columbus, Cairo, Mound City, and Paducah by General Brayman.
Please answer as to whether I shall direct General Gresham to remain in Cairo until he can get a division or its equivalent together, or come up the Tennessee River as soon as he can get about 3,000 men and be joined at Clifton by three regiments of infantry from Pulaski.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON,
HDQRS. LEFT WING, SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Athens, Ala., April 19, 1864.
Major General JAMES B. McPHERSON,
Commanding Dept. and Army of the Tennessee, Huntsville, Ala.:
GENERAL: The enemy south of the river remain as before; all close up to Decatur. I inclose Colonel Rowett's last dispatch. We have been to their rear in all directions, and they appear to be pretty well closed up.
Reports from West Tennessee indicate that Forrest is making out of the country. I have followed him enough to satisfy me that infantry cannot even get a shot at him, unless it so weak a force that he is satisfied he can whip it. He watches this country very closely, especially the river from Eastport north, and no doubt anticipates a movement from this direction; at least this is what the citizens and scouts all say, and so far as I can judge from all reports he has about 6,000 effective men in West Tennessee. It is possible that he may have added 1,000 or 2,000 to it since he went there.
He takes everything without regard to former principles of the owners, and that entire country is feasting him, and his officers. I know of a large number who have professed great "love" for our flag who have outdone themselves in toadying to Forrest. It would be a just judgment on West Tennessee if the troops sent there were given orders to burn the entire country, take everything that can walk, and destroy any and every thing a rebel can eat or drink or be of any benefit whatever to them.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
G. M. DODGE,