WASHINGTON, April 25, 1864-3 p.m.
General Sherman requests that all unassigned troops in Illinois and the Northwest rendezvous at Cairo. Your orders sent to those States were to rendezvous at Louisville. Shall I change the order as Sherman requests? Dispatches just received from General Butler and Peck state that the garrison at Plymouth, after a small loss, surrendered to the rebels on Wednesday, the 20th. No particulars. General Butler says nothing about what he intends to do. I have just seen Admiral Porter's dispatch, dated Grand Ecore, April 14, to the Navy Department. He says, whatever may be said, the army there has met with a great defeat and is much demoralized. He speaks in strong terms of Banks' mismanagement, and of the good conduct of A. J. Smith and his corps.
He fears that if Smith is withdrawn Banks will retreat still farther, and Steele's command and the gun-boats above the rapids (which, from fall of water, cannot be withdrawn) will be greatly periled, if not lost. He says Banks' army was ten days behind the appointed time. He protests against the withdrawal of Smith at this time, as it would be fatal to us.
The Navy Department asks to know this, in order to telegraph instructions to Cairo for Admiral Porter.
H. W. HALLECK,
Major-General, Chief of Staff.
NASHVILLE, TENN., April 25, 1864-3.30 p.m.
(Received 6.20 p.m.)
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,
The veteran divisions cannot be up May 2, but I am willing to move with what I have. Colonel Comstock left for you last night and has facts and figures. As soon as you see them make your orders. I am now getting all in hand ready, but every day adds to my animals and men. If you can, give me till May 5.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Nashville, April 25, 1864.
Major General GEORGE H. THOMAS,
Commanding Department of the Cumberland, Chattanooga:
GENERAL: I have received your several dispatches and letters touching the check on railroad travel. I have ordered the quartermaster to check the tendency of our military railroads sliding into a public convenience, but to keep it just as he would a train of army wagons. Nobody should travel in the cars save officers and soldiers under orders entitling to transportation. I left him to ease off by sending only such as were caught away from home by the change. I think it will in time come out all right. If we allow conductors to collect money we know they will little by little pick up way-trav-