“I did not say 30,000 troops at Shelbyville, but at Abbeville”

Replied to Gen. Halleck, “I did not say 30,000 troops at Shelbyville, but at Abbeville, which is south of Holly Springs, on the road to Grenada. I made a report of all I knew of the capture of the train, and sent by way of Columbus, Ky. I have kept all my cavalry force on the road from here to Germantown most of the time since my arrival in Memphis. The balance the southeast of the line from here.

“I heed as little of the floating rumors about the city as any one. I only gave you the statement of a man from Okolona, who has fled from there with no intention of returning until he can go under the Federal flag. I do not credit his report as to east numbers, but believe the Tallahatchie Bridge is being repaired, and that a considerable force is at Abbeville. I know, not from rumor, that M. Jeff. Thompson and Jackson are both to the southeast of us. I have added for the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, now at Corinth, that I might do effectually what you now ask why I have not done.

“Stampeding is not my weakness. On the contrary, I will always execute any order to the best of my ability with the means at hand. Immediately on taking command here I ordered troops from my command at Jackson and Bolivar, where they could be spared, that I might have the force to guard effectually the road from here to where guarded by General Sherman. Your orders have countermanded mine. It will be very difficult, however, to prevent the occasional taking up of a rail or cutting of a wire, as troops of my command passed the scene of the late catastrophe before it occurred and after, on the same day. I do not see that there has been move culpable neglect than was shown by Beauregard in permitting the road from Corinth to Bethel to be cut by my forces on the road south of him, by Colonel Elliott. As all the dispositions of the forces of the Army of the Tennessee have been made without my orders, and in most cases is expressly placed under the control of General McPherson, who had his agent here, and as I have never been directed to place any troops on the road, certainly no blame can attach to me.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 5, p 168-9

O.R., I, xvii, part 2, 46-7

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