General Corse reports that disaster has befallen the troops up Red River. I forwarded his message to General Grant.
Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, Nashville, Tennessee
April 21, 1864
Lieutenant-General Grant, Washington:
I have just received the following dispatch from General Corse, whom I sent to bring up my Red River command:
Cairo, April 21,1864: 2.30 p. m.
Banks was attacked by Kirby Smith near Mansfield, La., on the 8th instant, and retreated to Grand Ecore a la Bull Run. He refused to let Smith go, for obvious reasons, stating, however, that he had authority from both Generals Grant and Halleck to retain your troops longer. The admiral’s iron-clads are caught by low water, some above the bars at Grand Ecore, the rest above the falls, and he not only refuses to consent to the removal of Smith, but refused to allow him a transport to take him out of the river, stating that to take Smith away would occasion the loss of his fleet, the utter destruction of General Banks’ demoralized command, and enable the enemy to crush General Steele. I have communications from General Banks and Admiral Porter, and will be with you as speedily as possible,
JOHN M. CORSE, Brigadier-General
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
The disaster upon Red River I suppose may delay the return of General Mower. A large amount of cavalry belonging to Memphis I hear is at home on furlough and will soon be back, but as they will be horseless it will take some time to mount them.
Washburn, reports that the disclosures in regard to the Fort Pillow massacre make out a much worse case than any of the published accounts. The Sioux Indians after this will be regarded as models of humanity.
I have inquiries from above about the fate of Major Bradford who was at Fort Pillow. I sent a request to Brayman at Cairo for more information.
Forrest has made enough progress to the south that it will not be possible to cut off his retreat by troops moving up the Tennessee River. If Forrest has moved south of Coldwater there will be no necessity for Gresham’s command going to Purdy, but it will go up to Clifton, land there, and act across to the west of the Tennessee, if information then received make it useful.
Slocum now commands Vicksburg. No distant expeditions will be expected from Vicksburg until the main armies are in motion. Then all the forces of the United States should occupy the detachments of the enemy as much as possible to keep them from reinforcing Johnston.
In my front, the cavalry now in front of Dodge is from Johnston’s army, watching our movements. It might be well to keep them uneasy by occasional sallies in force from Decatur and Larkin’s to confuse them.