I would like you to give orders for A. J. Smith's division to follow by the Tennessee River, and that of Mower to remain at Memphis.
Bring your corps staff along.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CAIRO,
Cairo, Ill. April 20, 1864.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi;
SIR: Captain Shirk, of the gun-boat Peosta, a cool and intelligent officer, whose judgment is valuable, and whose trips up the Tennessee give him means of obtaining information, writes me as follows:
U. S. S. PEOSTA,
Paducah, Ky., April 19, 1864
GENERAL: I have just been informed of a solution of the movements of the rebels in West Tennessee and Kentucky, which, if true, ought to be known to Major-General Sherman.
It is this; That Forrest is to hold this portion of these two States between Memphis and Paducah, while General Polk moves north and has secured a place upon the Tennessee River to cross, when he is to be joined by Forrest, and the combined force is then to cross and cut off the supplies of the army near Chattanooga. I am told it is a fact that General Polk is moving north. Colonel Hicks tells me that he has information that there is an infantry force of rebels now at Paris, Tenn. These two reports would seem to corroborate each other.
I am, very respectfully, &c.,
JAMES W. SHIRK,
Lieutenant Commander, U. S. Navy, Commanding 7th Dist. Mississippi Squadron/
P. S. - I am securing affidavits in relation of the Fort Pillow affair, and find the facts as stated in press substantiated,
LEXINGTON, April 20, 1864
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Louisville:
Rebels Gay and Bradshaw, with 80 men, left Quicksand Creek, in Breathitt County, Tuesday last, pursued by detachments Forty-fifth Kentucky Mounted Infantry. Rebels retreated through Pound Gap. No rebel force in my district.
E. H. HOBSON,
CAIRO, ILL., April 20, 1864
(Received 11.20 p.m.)
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
I am collecting from the survivors sworn testimony concerning the tragedy at Fort Pillow, and find all the published accounts substantiated. Fort Pillow, is not within my command, but survivors were brought here. A full report will reach you as soon as possible.
28 R R-VOL XXXII, PT III