Nov 15 1862. I sent the following telegram to Gen. Sherman,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
La Grange, Tenn., November 14, 1862.
Major General WILLIAM T. SHERMAN, Memphis, Tenn.:
After writing to you by Colonel Grierson I received a dispatch from General Halleck stating that in addition to troops already ordered to this department some from Ohio and Kentucky were also ordered, all to be collected at Memphis, from which place a combined military and naval expedition would move on Vicksburg. This, taken in connection with the mysterious rumors of McClernand’s command, left me in doubt as to what I should do. I therefore telegraphed Halleck to know if that movement was to be made independent of mine here – if I was to lie still where I am or to penetrate as far south as possible with the means at hand; he replied that all troops sent into the department would be under my control – fight the enemy my own way.*
From information brought in by spies sent from Corinth by General Rosecrans before he left there, the enemy are expecting re-enforcements from Bragg’s army and also from Virginia. Have also been re-enforced by Holmes and Hindman. This latter I do not credit.
I think it advisable to move on the enemy as soon as you can leave Memphis with two full divisions of twelve regiments of infantry each and the proper proportion of other arms. If troops should come sufficiently rapidly to enable you to bring three divisions it would be more advisable. The country through which you would pass would no doubt afford supplies of forage. I will have provisions here to furnish you on arrival; also ordnance stores. Not less than 300 rounds per man should be brought from Memphis, however.
Our reconnaissances have driven the enemy to beyond the Tallahatchie. Yesterday our cavalry went 6 or 7 miles beyond Holly Springs, where they met five regiments of rebel cavalry and infantry and a battery. Colonel Lee, of the Seventh Kansas Cavalry, one of the best cavalry officers I ever saw, drove them back, capturing, killing, and wounding a large number. He has now taken since we have been here some 250 prisoners, killed perhaps 50, and wounded a large number, with a loss on his side of only 3 men wounded.
I am ready to move from here any day and only await your movements. You can inform me by messenger what day you will start, with what force and by what route, and I will make my calculations accordingly.
The route you should take will depend upon the force you can bring with you, the number of days’ supplies you can transport, and whether the enemy is materially re-enforced.
If you can move with three divisions and so as to reach Oxford with three days’ supplies, I would say go there; but I am not advised whether the new regiments joining you are supplied with transportation. I presume they are not. I will have here from 500 to 600 wagons for a supply and ordnance train, and the road in running order to beyond Holly Springs, probably to the Tallahatchie.
If you cannot move to Oxford, and I don’t expect it, the next best place would be to move to Tallahatchie, or water some place 6 miles west or southwest from Holly Springs. I would then move to Holly Springs, so as to reach there at the same time. All future plans could be arranged after our arrival at these position.
I have asked to have three locomotives purchased and sent to Memphis, with the view of having the Grenada and Memphis road used.
I have ordered Lauman and will send Hurlbut to report to you in a few days.
Let me hear from you by special messenger as soon as possible. Any suggestions you may have to make will be gladly received and duly considered.
I am exceedingly anxious to do something before the roads get bad and before the enemy can intrench and re-enforce.
U. S. GRANT,