Gen. Hurlbut: “It having been ascertained that Hopefield is a mere shelter for Guerrillas, I ordered the place burned”

Feb 20 1863. I received the following report from Gen. Hurlbut informing me of Rebel Guerrilla activity and weapons smuggling being carried out from Memphis.

Three days since the rebel Guerrillas at Hopefield surprised the Tow Steamer Hercules which had gone in to the Arkansas Shore in a dense fog—killed one of the crew & burned the Boat & a Barge of Coal. It having been ascertained that Hopefield is a mere shelter for Guerrillas, I ordered the place burned—which was done on yesterday—
Sixteen or 17 Horses were captured which no parties there would own, quite a number of Cavalry Saddles & other evidences of the haunts of the Guerillas—one Barn in burning blew up with a quantity of concealed powder
I have stopped all communication with Arkansas for the present I have consulted with Genl Veatch as to the possibility of barricading the Streets & roads leading into Memphis & we unite that it can only be effectually done by cutting the bridges across Gayoso Bayou on such roads as may be selected—This however will leave outside of barricades a large portion of the suburbs of Memphis.
With the immense depots & Hospitals here both for the Army & Navy & the certainty that this point is to be a base of supplies it will require in my judgment an entire Division to cover this city so as to prevent the terrible smuggling which is now going on. The Effects of it are perfectly demoralizing. Bribery & corruption seem to go into every branch of service and the actual cases of which proof can be made are only, I am afraid, symptoms of a wide spread disease.
I have sure information that Richardson’s Guerrillas have been supplied with Revolvers from this City. I propose to day to forbid any arms whatever being exposed or kept for sale in the command.
Major Mudd supported by 2 Regts of Genl Quimby’s command made a dash on Blythe captured twelve & ran the rest off to Coldwater, but they come back as fast as our troops are withdrawn. As soon as the Roads become decent I think of putting a Brigade in near Horn Lake in the country infested by the Guerrillas & let them eat them out. The Country is rich in forage & provisions.
Col: Webster informs me that the R. Road will be completed to day or tomorrow. It will soon be broken up again somewhere in the O’Bion country I think. The cavalry Expedition south starts to day or to morrow. I have heard nothing of importance from Dodge or from the Tennessee.

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 7, p 349
National Archives, RG 94, War Records Office, Dept. of the Mo.

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