Gen Sherman: “The aggregate force at Holly Springs I should judge to be about 23,000 all told”

Oct 22 1862.  I have received several reports that the Rebels are massing troops in Holly Springs, MS, preparing for another attack on us, possibly at Corinth again.  I received the following telegram from Gen. Rosecrans,

Some of our Scouts from the far front say report & surmises Prevail that forces from Alabama, conscripts etc., and from Vicksburg are concentrating at Holly Springs intending to make another push at our lines — they say Corinth but do not think so — eight hundred (800) Troops reported remaining at Vicksburg, rest gone to reinforce Price.  They are fortifying Holly Springs.

 

I also received a telegram with similar information from Gen. Sherman,

HEADQUARTERS,
Memphis, Tenn., October 22, 1862.

General GRANT:

 

DEAR GENERAL: A merchant of undoubted character is just in from Holly Springs, which he left yesterday at 10 a. m. He brought many letters from the various officers to Saint Louis and California, some of which were examined. Price is there with all the Missourians, many of whom are known to us personally. Van Dorn and Lovell are ordered to Richmond. No other divisions or brigades have joined them since the battle of Corinth, but they claim that they have received 10,000 men from various quarters. Blythe has about 700 cavalry on the Hernando road and line of Coldwater. Jackson has 4,500 cavalry at my old camp on Coldwateer, near Holly Springs. The infantry is camped all about the town, and all seem to be in high spirits. Pemberton is now in command.

 

On balancing all accounts received I don’t think they can attack, but will await attack. They may occupy Davis’ Mill; but if you advance, La Grange is the point. The aggregate force at Holly Springs I should judge to be about 23,000 all told. Cavalry now in good order; infantry only so so; clothing poor and scarce of blankets and shoes; plenty of corn-meal and beef; all else scarce. The letters claim that Bragg whipped Buell, taking 17,000 prisoners.

 

No firing on our boats since the Gladiator, and I think we should not hesitate to make the country feel the full effects of all such attempts. I am just going to review two of my brigades, which are in fine order.

 

Yours, truly,

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General, Commanding.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 6, p 179

O.R., I, xvii, part 2, p 288-9

National Archives, RG 393, Army of the Miss., Telegrams Sent

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