OR, Series 1, Vol. 32, Part 1, Page 338

February 22, 1864
His Excellency President Davis
   I have kept you advised by telegraph of the enemy's movements since he left Vicksburg. From several reliable sources I have heard it was the enemy's intention to move from Vicksburg, through Jackson and Meridian, upon Montgomery, Ala., breaking up the railroads as he went. It is reported as coming from General Sherman that the campaign was ordered by General Grant, and that he regarded it as a foolish one. It certainly has not been a successful one. The vigorous action of my cavalry under General Lee kept him so closed up that he could not spread out and forage. As an evidence of this, a drove of hogs of mine was on the way east and pursued a route within 6 miles on an average of his line of march without molestation and have arrived safely. He was deprived entirely of the rolling-stock of all the roads between the Pearl and Tombigbee Rivers, as well as of the use of all the valuable stores which had been accumulated at depots on those roads, and, finally, of the services of his cavalry column. This last deprivation was fatal to the further prosecution of his campaign, and as reported to the adjutant and inspector general by telegraphic dispatch to-day, he seems to have given it up and gone back toward the Mississippi.
   I have reason to believe that the combinations now operating against his cavalry force will succeed in breaking and routing, if not even crushing it. If this should be the result, my cavalry will be ordered to fall upon the enemy's flanks and rear, and press and harass him as long as he is in the field. I shall pursue him with my infantry in the morning, taking such a course as will enable me to act most effectively.
   I have already taken measures to have all the roads broken up by him rebuilt, and shall press that work vigorously. The amount of road destroyed by him may be in all about 50 miles, extending out on the four roads from Meridian as a center. While upon this subject I desire to say that it is of the highest importance that measures be taken to have the road from Selma to the Tombigbee {the Alabama & Mississippi Rivers RR} finished and the bridge over that river built. I hope the government will take immediate steps to have this effected. For the want of it it has taken the greatest exertions to save the public property exposed by the recent movements of the enemy, and such risks should not be taken again. The movements consequent upon the presence of the enemy in this department have demonstrated also that which has been too apparent before, to wit, that the system of having subsistence and quartermaster's agents in this department who are working independently of the supervision and control of the department commander operates most injuriously to the public service. Any system which makes a commander in the field dependent for his supplies upon parties over whom he has no control cannot but work badly, and it may be fatally, to his command. All the benefits proposed to be accomplished by the existing arrangements can be much better secured by devolving the responsibility of collecting subsistence and quartermaster's stores as well as field transportation directly on the department commander. He is upon the spot, can supervise agents much more closely than the chief of a bureau at Richmond, and correct abuses as well as secure efficiency. Besides, nothing can be more inconvenient, to say nothing more of it, than to require the requisitions of a commander at this distance from the seat of government to send his requisitions for stores to Richmond to be approved before the goods can be drawn from the depots.
I remain, respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. Polk