I am at Iuka, all right, but our movements are a little too slow. Breaks in railroad across Bear Creek bottom are very bad. They will take at least five days to repair. I plan to have two divisions in Tuscumbia to-morrow night. General Halleck has given General Grant Command of all the armies of the West. I have long favored such a move to put a single commander over the whole to coordinate movements. I am to replace Grant in Charge of the Army of the Tennessee. General Blair will take my place as corp commander of the 15th.
HEADQUARTERS, MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Louisville, Kentucky October 19, 1863
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Army of the Tennessee, Iuka, Mississippi
Your dispatch of the 14th instant, by Lieutenant Dunn, is received. Inclosed here with find General Orders, No. 2, from these headquarters, assigning you to the command of the Department and Army of the Tennessee; also, a copy of dispatch of this date from the General-in-Chief, relating to the movements of troops by General Schofield, and the return of those not required by General Steele to hold Arkansas, to re-enforce your column. The command of the entire forces of the Department of the Tennessee being now in you, you will make such disposition of them as to increase to the greatest possible strength your moving column, and at the same time secure your communications to your base of supplies.
Communicate with General Steele and urge the necessity of his sending you the division of Kumball’s, of the Sixteenth Army Corps, and with it, when it arrives, relieve one of the divisions of that corps now maintaining the line of the railroad from Memphis to Corinth. The division thus relieved, bring forward under General Dodge to the front. He is an able officer, one whom you can rely upon in an emergency. The One hundred and eleventh Regiment Illinois Infantry Volunteers is stationed at Paducah, Kentucky, and number over 800 effective men. If it is necessary to keep troops there at all, a regiment one-third as large would be ample. It should be moved forward, together with any other regiments that can be spared from Memphis and the line of the railroad, and assigned to strength divisions already to the front.
The chief of departments for the West, at Saint Louis, Missouri, have been instructed to shove forward, by the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers when they rise, supplies for the troops operating on the Chattanooga and Tennessee line. Admiral Porter is watching both these rivers and will, the moment there is a sufficient rise in either, send in his gun-boats as far up as possible for the convoying of supply-boats and protection of navigation. You will please put yourself in communication with him at once as commander of the Department of the Tennessee. You are aware of his good feelings toward, and cordial co-operation with, the army, receiving any suggestion for the good of the service in the most courteous and friendly manner and carrying them out, when possible, promptly and willingly. You will have no difficulty with him.
A proper activity on the part of your cavalry ought to enable it to disperse and drive out of West Tennessee, and from the immediate neighborhood of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, any considerable organized body of the enemy that may be there. The general commanding will leave here tomorrow morning for Chattanooga, where he will establish for the present his headquarters. Until you can communicate with him by a more direct route you will do so there via Nashville, Tennessee.
By order of Major General U. S. Grant:
JOHN A. RAWLINS, Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.
GENERAL ORDERS, HEADQUARTERS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, No. 2. Louisville, Kentucky, October 19, 1863
Subject to the approval of the President, Major General W. T. Sherman, U. S. Volunteers, is hereby assigned to the command of the Department and Army of the Tennessee, headquarters in the field. By order of Major General U. S. Grant:
T. S. BOWERS, Assistant Adjutant-General