troops remain under my command if no longer than till after the Presidential election. I deem it not only prudent but an actual necessity that they be detained; without them I have not force enough to hold any post in the district against a determined attack. The information I have received is that they will attack this district about the time of the election, if not before it.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding District.
HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Vicksburg, Miss., November 1, 1864.
Brigadier General M. L. SMITH,
Commanding District of West Tennessee, Memphis, Tenn.:
GENERAL: I am directed by Major-General Dana to acknowledge receipt of your communication of 29th ultimo, inclosing copy of telegram of 23rd ultimo from Brigadier General S. Meredith, commanding at Paducah, and to state that as General Dana has not, although ordered, received any reports or returns whatever of the forces in the District of West Tennessee or at Memphis, he cannot definitely estimate your means of defense, but is led from the general tenor of your letter and dispatches, and from the reliance he reposes in yourself, to feel a considerable confidence in the ability of the commander and garrison of Memphis to hold the city against any attack. The general's present instructions prevent his moving his headquarters to Memphis, and as from the want of information he cannot give exact orders or define any particular line of action, he depends on you as the actual commanding officer present, and until General Washburn returns, to act as promptly and energetically as though General Dana were present in person. He cannot see, with yourself in command, that any necessity exists for his presence in Memphis unless he could take up troops, and the most that could be spared from Vicksburg in case of extreme need would be 800 or 1,000 cavalry and one battery of light artillery, men and guns only. The first means of re-enforcing Memphis, however, if threatened by a heavily superior force, should be by a call on the commanding officer at heavily superior force, should be by a call on the commanding officer at mouth of White River and by the temporary assistance of the troops at Paducah, and the general desires that you use every available means of obtaining correct information, informing him of all reports received, and that you act if occasion requires without awaiting orders. He directs that the tri-monthly return of the District of West Tennessee be sent him immediately, and that it state name, station, and effective force of every regiment, &c., and show the organization of the district clearly. If Memphis is in danger every man in it capable of bearing arms should be put in the ranks, and the regular and militia regiments, white and colored, filled up by citizens. Quartermasters' and commissaries' men and hospital attendants alone would make a respectable command, and the general relies on you to turn them [out] to the last man if they are needed.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. H. HARRIS,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.