HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Cairo, Ill., April 27, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel W. T. CLARK,
Asst. Adjt. General, Department and Army of the Tennessee:
SIR: I beg leave to report to the major-general commanding that I have received copies of instructions to Major-General Washburn, Major General H. W. Slocum, and Brigadier-General Prince, for which I am indebted.
As there is visible contradiction between these orders and Special Orders, No. 150, Adjutant-General's Office, which latter orders is, to say the least, ill-advised, I propose to state for the information of the major-general my views of my rights and duties.
There is no such district as West Tennessee, nor has there been for more than a year. It was abolished when General Grant took command of the department and has never been reinstated. I never commanded any such district, and therefore cannot be relieved from it. I command the Sixteenth Army Corps, and intend to until properly removed. The troops within the old District of West Tennessee are part of that corps and subject to my command.
The order of Major-General McPherson is correct as I understand it, and places Major-General Washburn is command of the District of Memphis, including therein all of the District of Columbus except Cairo, with orders to report to me.
Personally, it is a matter of indifference to me what disposition the authorities make of me, but I intend that disposition shall be made openly, fairly, and distinctly, and that neither the rights of the Sixteenth Army Corps nor my own shall be evaded by any such orders as Special Orders, No. 150.
Lieutenant-General Grant, acting under mistaken information, has done me an injustice which can only be rectified by a court of inquiry, which has already been demanded.
You will no doubt have heard from Memphis that General Washburn has stopped the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, en route for Vicksburg, and has sent Major Morgan to Vicksburg with orders to stop and turn back all boats he meets, and to bring up from Vicksburg all the cavalry there. This, of course, General Slocum, under your orders, is not likely to permit, nor is it desirable that an officer of such large experience in the field and success as General Washburn, sent to Memphis expressly to punish Forrest, with a force that I considered inadequate, should be re-enforced to the extent contemplated. He was sent there to do that which "marked timidity" on my part prevented from being done, and should use only the material which I left there. He also, as I understand, wants more infantry, which I presume he will find somewhere.
The truth is that the enemy are running the Mobile and Ohio Railroad to Tupelo, and are working a heavy force toward Corinth so as to complete that part. Until that is done, Corinth will be headquarters for Forrest, who is now withdrawing his forage and supplies from Jackson. Detached bands may be held in West Tennessee, but I think the main force will concentrate around Corinth. If they do, and Washburn moves out on Saturday, he will have his hands full.
The cavalry of Grierson, now at Memphis, is of little value. Horses are run down, what there are of them. All the dash and energy they ever has was taken out by Sooy Smith's misfortune. The Fourth Missouri, Second New Jersey, Nineteenth Pennsylvania,