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9 Series I Volume XLV-II Serial 94 - Franklin - Nashville Part II

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Memphis, Tenn., December 1, 1864.

Byt. Major General J. H. WILSON,

Commanding Cavalry Corps, Military Division of the Mississippi:

GENERAL: Yours of November 20, by Lieutenant Noyes, has just reached me by mail at this place.* Since Captain Woodward reached me with your orders I have twice written you, neither of which letters our appear to have received. I shall send this by special messenger, that you may be more certain of receiving it. That your orders and those of Major-General Thomas concerning the cavalry have not been carried out is certainly no fault of mine. Half the command were in Missouri or Arkansas, where they could not be reached, and were acting under the orders of officers far above me in authority. The other half were at Memphis, and could not be taken away from there, because Major-General Washburn would not permit it, neither would he now, until General Dana arrives. He is expected on Saturday next. The Memphis by General Rosecrans upon Captain Woodward's suggestion were a detachment of 400 men consisting of from one to ten men from every company in seen different regiments. These men had been absent from their commands seventy-five days, without clothing, &c., and had not been paid for six months; neither could they receive pay until the descriptive rolls of each one were furnished to the officer commanding them. Moreover, they all belonged to regimens which General Washburn and Lieutenant Noyes have arraigned to leave here. When Captain Woodward arrived in Saint Louis after leading you he found that with the exception of this mixed detachment all the rest of Winslow's command had preceded back through Missouri and Arkansas, and he even received intelligence from officers returning from that command that they had already been detached from General Curti's command and sent overland to Memphis. He told General Rosecrans that it was your wish to have the command concentrate at some convenient point as quickly as possible and sent to Nashville. General Rosecrans stated that it was adverse to his orders to do so, but agreed with Captain Woodward that as at that time it was more than probable that the majority of Colonel Winslow's command would come out at Memphis, it would be best for that detachment to be sent to their companies in Memphis to refit. In doing this Captain Woodward also acted in obedience to my directions, as Memphis would certainly have been the best point to have concentrated had Winslow's command come there, as was expected at that time. Besides, could I have concentrated Winslow's and the Vicksburg cavalry at Memphis immediately upon the receipt of your order, as was undoubtedly your intention, I would have had force sufficient to have a marched overland via Fort Henry to Nashville, which would have been the most expeditious route. But, as you will see, I was powerless, my command being scattered from Kansas to Middle Tennessee by orders from superior authority. I certainly understood your instructions, and every move which I have made was with the intention of carrying them out with the least possible delay. In answer to your inquiry as to why I was absent from Saint Louis or Memphis, I have the honor to state that it was by virtue of extract 7, Special Orders, Numbers 183, from headquarters District of West Tennessee, by which order I was sent to Missouri and


*See Part I, p. 954.



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