and I consider it necessary to await its return before making the expedition spoken of, both for the force required and the officers to command it. In my opinion, to make a thorough work, 2,000 or 2,500 cavalry will be required, and as that now absent will probably be well used up on its return, I ought to be supplied with 1,000 effective re-enforcements. I would recommend that that number be held in readiness for my call, but not sent here until called for, as it is better they should not ascend the river higher than the pont where it is decided to rendezvous and make a landing. I have been contemplating a movement in that district since early in October, but the necessary detachment of force from Vicksburg and Natchez to General Reynolds in that month, and the expeditions against the Mississippi Central and Mobile and Ohio Railroads have unavoidably delayed it. I can easily drive Harrison and Lee almost any where, but they will immediately return on our retirement. I will at once communicate with General Reynolds on the subject, and will notify him in full of my plans when I am ready to act. I have not heard from Grierson since his second encampment near Mount Pleasant. From the absence of information from him I entertain high hopes of his success. He ought to have struck the railroad on the 24th or 25th. You will probably hear of him through rebel sources before I do.
N. J. T. DANA,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Memphis, Tenn., December 28, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel C. T. CHRISTENSEN,
A. A. G., Hdqrs. Mil. Div. of West Miss., New Orleans, La.:
SIR: I have the honor to state that from the information I receive regarding affairs on the Mississippi River, between Memphis, Cairo, and Paducah, I am strongly impressed with the conviction that the Government is under a very heavy useless expense in money and deprived of the services, where needed, of the troops, by maintaining longer the post of Columbus, Ky. If a post is to be kept ont he river between Memphis and Cairo, with a view to hold the point from which the enemy might blockade and stop navigation, Fort Pillow, not Columbus, is the spot. Columbus is too far removed from any practical foraging country, too near our own military depot, too easily approached from the land side to be thought of by the rebels as a place to be occupied by them for over a day at a time; while Fort Pillow is within a rich, well-stocked, disloyal country, difficult of attack, if garrisoned, from land or water, and very easy of either access to or retreat from at pleasure. The irresistible inference is that if the navigation of the river is ever seriously attempted to be stopped, Fort Pillow, unoccupied since April 12, 1864, will be selected as the place from which to operate. I do not believe a garrison to be necessary at either place; that of Columbus has accomplished nothing and has nothing to employ itself in. I respectfully recommend that Columbus be ordered to be evacuated, the works leveled, and the garrison sent to Memphis, Tenn.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. J. T. DANA,