Whenever an officer no longer requires the services of any man who has been assigned to duty with him he will promptly report the fact to the assistant inspector-general of the department, so that he may be returned to his command or reassigned to some other officer.
By command of Lieutenant-General Taylor:
P. ELLIS, JR.,
HEADQUARTERS FORREST'S CAVALRY,
Corinth, October 12, 1864.
Lieutenant General R. TAYLOR,
GENERAL: Your favor of the 9th has just been received and I avail myself of the first leisure moment to comply with your request.
I move with my command into WEST Tennessee in a few days, and you may rely on my doing all I can toward accommodating your desires and in facilitating your suggestions.
The Mobile and Ohio road can be repaired from this place to Bethel or Henderson Station in a short time, but from Bethel to Jackson the road is nearly entirely destroyed, and as there is much trestle-work it will take some time to rebuilt the road and place it in running order. I am of the opinion the cars can be run to Bethel in two weeks, but it will require six weeks or two months to finish the road to Jackson. If you determine to rebuilt the road most of the labor must be furnished from below. There are but few negroes from here to Jackson. The country has been destroyed, and I am satisfied laborers cannot be had near the road sufficient to make the necessary repairs. From what I have seen in WEST Tennessee, and from recent information, I am satisfied the amount of supplies in that region has been greatly exaggerated. I can subsist my command there, and will be able to gather up some wheat and hogs, but not in amounts large as has been supposed. There is, no doubt, much more wheat in WEST Tennessee than is necessary for the support of the people, but our currency cannot be used in that region, and the people instead of collecting their surplus supply of hogs will scatter them in woods to prevent their falling into our hands. The same difficulty exists in purchasing wheat and any other supplies needed by our Government. To hunt up and press the needed supplies will require much time and will take all of my command to accomplish much. If you can furnish salt, or anything the people could use at home, I am satisfied they would interest themselves in hunting up and furnishing the Governor with every article of supply that they could possibly spare. I hope some plan can be devised which will furnish the people with something they can use for their supplies, and which will secure to the Government much substitute from this region. I shall do the best I can under the circumstances, and make these suggestions for the purpose of facilitating operations. The enemy derives much of his supplies from the Northwestern railroad, which are shipped up the Tennessee River and thence to Johnsonville and Nahsville. It is my present design to take possession of Fort Heiman, on the WEST bank of the Tennessee Ri prevent all communication with Johnsonville by transports.
I am of the opinion that the new guns ordered are of sufficient caliber to prevent the operations of their gun-boats. It is highly important that this line be interrupted if not entirely destroyed, as I learned dur-