War of the Rebellion: Serial 084 Page 0019 Chapter LIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Original Records

I have also information from Jackson and Clinton as late as yesterday morning of a reliable character. Scott is at the latter place, where he has been lying still for some time. He has from 2,000 to 3,000 men-some in camp, some in town, and many scattered in the country. There is another small camp a few miles north of Jackson in a bushy and broken country. At Clinton, Scott has six or seven pieces of artillery, but no fortifications. I found many of the heads of families absent at Baton Rouge getting supplies, and have the best reason to suspect that trips to Jackson and Clinton are quite as frequent as those to Baton Rouge. To correct this evil I would respectfully suggest that a departmental to their place of residence, and forbidding them to visit any other post or to go more than five miles from home in any other direction without special permit from the provost-marshal at that post. A system could easily be adopted by which none but loyal men or those well disposed toward the Government could procure supplies, and then only in such quantity and kind as would be actually needed for the support of their families. As part of this system I would recommend that a trade-store might be authorized to be placed at some convenient place within our picket-line, and that goods not contraband of war might be sold the inhabitants of the country under provost-marshal's permit.

No enterprise can be sent on foot against the force of Scott with a prospect of complete success without a proper proportion of cavalry, now our greatest need. I regret to say that the orders taking Colonel Fonda from this command have materially interfered with plans I was maturing to pay proper attention to Scott. There are no reasons I can assign why Colonel Fonda should be retained in this command that are not quite as good for sending him to Baton Rouge, except that this might be considered the best point to operate from. His immediate knowledge of the topography and the people of the country, his thorough method of character, and hid higher qualities as a soldier, will make him a great acquisition to any command. I shall miss him much. The colonel is a live, active soldier, always ready for duty, and always able to discharge that duty intelligently. I shall, as soon as the Second Louisiana Cavalry arrives, resume my observations of the country, and whenever I get my troops well in hand I will make the move above indicated unless otherwise directed from headquarters. I think the occupation of Clinton and Jackson even temporarily and the driving off or capturing Scott and his force would initiate a good deal of loyalty in this country and inspire the people with a wholesome regard for the power of the Government. Respectfully asking an early reply to each of the suggestions herein contained,

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

JOHN McNEIL,

Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.

BATON ROUGE, July 2, 1864.

(Received 3.30 p. m.)

General T. W. SHERMAN,

Commanding Defenses:

I am credibly informed that the rebel General Scott has left Clinton with his entire command, leaving only the militia, composed of men over forty-five years of age. Scott encamped at Summit Station on the New