Memorandum for Major-General S. D. Lee.
Pontotoc, October 2, 1863.Collect about twenty-five hundred of the best troops of Chalmers's, Ferguson's, and Ross's brigades, with Owens's battery, for the expedition into Middle Tennessee, for which, at Oxford on the 29th ult., you were desired to prepare, to break the railroad in rear of Rosecrans's army. It is important to move as soon as possible-and by the route least likely to meet the enemy — to the points on the railroad where most injury can be done with the least exposure of our troops. The bridges over the branches of Duck River and of the Elk are suggested. As the fords of the Tennessee are in and above the Muscle Shoals, it would be well to move toward Tuscumbia first, and, in crossing the river and moving forward, to ascertain as many routes as possible by which to return. Fayetteville would be a point in the route to the part of the railroad between Elk and Duck Rivers. General Bragg is informed of your intended movement, and has been requested to put Brigadier-General Roddy under your command.  Should circumstances now unforeseen make the enterprise too hazardous, abandon it. Your own judgment must decide if risks do or do not counterbalance the important results to be hoped for from success. Brigadier-General Chalmers's move to Memphis and Charleston Railroad should precede yours by a day if practicable. Brigadier-General Jackson was instructed, three or four months ago, to issue the cavalry-arms for which I had applied to the Ordnance Department, so as to convert the best-instructed regiments into cavalry first. Let those instructions be executed. Brigadier-General Jackson is under the misapprehension that you have countermanded them.
J. E. Johnston.