HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Chickasaw, Ala., March 17, 1865.
Brigadier General E. HATCH,
Commanding Fifth Division, Cavalry Corps:
GENERAL: During the absence of the First, Second, and Fourth Divisions you will remain with your division in its present camp, using all proper exertions to prepare it for the field with the utmost possible dispatch. In order to secure horses, arms, and equipments you are authorized to communicate with the supply departments, Major Price, Major Chambliss, Captain Green, or any other persons connected with the cavalry service, to send officers and regiments in turn to Louisville or Edgefield, and if necessary to go in person to either of these places. You must lose no opportunity to impress upon the Cavalry Bureau, Ordnance Department, and General Thomas the present destitute condition of your command. An officer should be sent at once to look after the horses which are being recuperated, with orders to secure enough of them for your command, and to send forward without delay all that are at present fit for service. Captain Carling, the chief quartermaster, will proceed at once to Nashville and Louisville and use his utmost exertions to have horses furnished you, and to perfect the arrangements for hurrying them forward. I shall write to Captain Green, special inspector of the corps, to get Spencer carbines, Blakely cartridge boxes, and Stewart attachments for you if the country can possibly supply them. The wagon trains of the corps will be left under your care. They will be parked at Waterloo or Eastport, as you may think best, and held at all times in readiness to march to any point designated by General Thomas or myself with supplies of of ammunition and rations. It is now supposed that as soon as you are mounted and equipped ready for service that you will move toward Central or Eastern Alabama for the purpose of joining the corps. Until you receive other orders from proper authority you will in no way allow your command to concern itself in the cotton or other produce trade, Major-General Thomas having submitted the entire matter of trade on the Tennessee River to such regulations, under the orders of the President, Treasury and War Departments, as the naval authorities may choose to adopt. You are authorized and directed, however, to take cognizance of all trade contraband of war which may come under your observation. The operations of the Treasury agents for confiscable or abandoned property are as a matter of course legitimate, and you will give all properly accredited agents of this class such assistance, not prejudicial to the interests of the service, as existing orders may require. No rations will be issued to the people of the country except to such destitute refugees as may come into your lines for the purpose of going North. The Government of the United States makes no provision for the families of the soldiers who are fighting its battles, and therefore cannot be expected to aid those of men in arms against it. Communicate frequently to General Thomas all information you may obtain of my movements, and endeavor to keep up communication with me as long as possible, sending me particularly all reliable intelligence you may obtain of Canby's movements and those of the enemy.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. WILSON,