HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION, CAVALRY CORPS,
Memphis, Tenn., October 1, 1864.
Captain S. L. WOODWARD,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Cavalry Corps:
Forwarded for the information of the general commanding.
I deem the action of Lieutenant-Colonel Hess is all that is required, and will do nothing more unless required by further orders.
JOHN W. NOBLE,
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, D. C., October 2, 1864.
Lieutenant-General GRANT, City Point:
GENERAL: Some time since General Sherman asked my opinion in regard to his operations after the capture of Atlanta. While free to give advice to the best of my ability, I felt it my duty to refer him to you for instructions, not being advised of your views on that subject. I presume from his dispatches that you have corresponded upon the subject, and perhaps his plan of future operations has already been decided upon. At one he seemed most decidedly of opinion that he ought to operate by Montgomery and Selma and connect himself with Canby and Farragut on the Alabama River, thus severing the northern part of Georgia and Alabama and all of MISSISSIPPI from the rebel Confederacy. This view was taken in his letters to General Canby, copies of which were sent to the Adjutant-General's Office, and in this opinion I fully concurred, and so wrote both to him and Canby, directing them, however, to make no important movements till they received your instructions. I judge from a dispatch just received from General Sherman that he is now proposing to move eastwardly toward Augusta or Millen, expecting to connect with the coast by the Savannah River. Whether this is simply a suggestion or change of opinion on his part, or the result of his consultation with you, or of your orders to him, I have no means of knowing. All I wish to say or know upon the subject is, that if any definite plans have been adopted it is desirable that the Secretary of War or myself should be informed of that plan as early as possible. Large requisitions have been received within the last day or two from General Canby's staff officers for water transportation and quartermasters, commissary, and medical stores to be sent to Mobile and Pensacola for an army of 30,000 or 40,000 men. Indeed, in the single article of forage the amount asked for is more than can possibly be furnished in the Northern and Eastern States, and more than all the available sea- going vessels in Northern ports could float. On receiving these requisitions I directed General Meigs to take active measures to fill them so far as possible, but to make no shipments until further orders. Now, if General Sherman is going to move east to connect with the coast by the Savannah River these stores should not be shipped to Mobile or Pensacola, but to Hilton Head, and transportation be sent to New Orleans to move all available troops to that point. Moreover, operations at Mobile should in that case be limited to a mere demonstration and continued only so long as they may serve to deceive the enemy. It is exceedingly important that some definite conclusion should be arrived at as early as possible, for the expenses of the water transportation, and especially of the demurrage of large fleets, are enormous.