War of the Rebellion: Serial 109 Page 0654 SW. VA., KY., TENN., MISS., ALA., W. FLA., &. N. GA. Chapter LXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

not to leave here till I heard from him again, except on a sudden emergency. I have since written to him urging that I had better go. Morgan L. Smith assumes commandof this post to-day. (My dear general, I write you confidentially and privately). I hear that in Washburn's absence at Memphis he relaxed things very much and loosened the lines materially, and it is asserted in the papers that he rendered himself very popular there, and that the merchants made money fast under his administration. I hear, also, that on his way down the Mississippi here he played cards in the cabin of the boat in his shirt-sleeves, &c. Confidentially, officers of the Western armies, if they ever knew, have lost their comprehension of a closed line. Dodge is said to be president of the Pacific Railroad, and some of his friends do not expect him to come here at all. Bryaman is junior to Smith, and, besides, is seriously involved in war with the Treasury Department, whose officials aim at getting my name as intricately mixed with it as possible, in the hope of having me removed from the Mississippi. I am in their way and prevent their accumulations. They do not want any officer here who will not allow their business peculations and share in their gains. I felt that it was necessary to have a reliable officer to command this district as soon as I leftit, for I know the people are only waiting for me to leave. General Veatch, who had been ordered to report to Washburn, was represented as a pretty reliable man, who would, at least, obey instructions without being watched. I ordered him down, but now hear that he had left Memphis to sit on a court-martial at Louisville before h received this order.

I inclose a copy of orders* I have issued putting Smith in command of the psot, by which you will see that I have pretty closely restricted him. If I have to leave here now, with him in command of the district, these restrictions will be nearly neutralized. Still, I may have do to it, and trust to frequent or occasional visits here to be made by myself and inspector and provost-marshal, as well as yours. As to our troops, which are beyond my reach in Arkansas and Missouri, I had received a long dispatch from Sherman, dated October 31, of which he said he had sent a copy to you. I wished to make offensive operations against the lines of communication of the enemy on the Mississippi Central Railroad and the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, but every disposable man for field service (unless I weakened all garrisons unwarrantably by a concentration of a small force), except some cavalry, was absent in Missouri and Arkansas. I wished also to drive Forrest out of West Tennessee and to seriously interrupt Frank Gardner's dignified repose. I urged the return of the Right Wing, Sixteenth Corps, and Canby ordered it, with Winslow's division of cavlary, from the pursuit of Price to Memphis by the shortest route. I then expected to change my cavalry raiding, which has been paying pretty well, to a campaign against the communications of Hood and Beauregard and Forrest, but yesterday I received information (to my astonishment) that A. J. Smith with the Right Wing was on his way via railroad to Nashville. Dennis will not join me for a long time, so you may expect our operations to be confined principally to cavalry. Our garrisons are weak, and if Beauregard approaches the river I shall break up the posts of Goodrich's, Milliken's, and Bullitt's Bayou to re-enforce the forts here and at Natchez, and ask Canby for more.

Magruder moved in force a few days ago from Camden, Ark., and its vicinity (23,000 men or thereabouts, four divisions infantry and three cavalry), on Pine Bluff and Little Rock. Price may in retreating unite


*See Special Orders, Numbers 177, District of Vicksburg, VOL. XXXIX, Part III, p. 726.