War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0736 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter

Search Civil War Official Records

XXVII.

taken to meet them in every direction. If you have any information to the contrary I beg you will send it, for with lines of couriers to Baton Rouge, Bayou Sara, Madisonville, and Covington, I hear nothing of the kind from any reliable source.

I am compelled to add, in justice to myself, that your opinion as to the enemy's certainty of attack and the result of that attack is, I fear, made without proper examination into the facts of the case, and is rather based upon rumors than actual information.

My arrangements to meet an enemy have been made as far as the means at my command will permit, and I feel confident that if he makes any attempt to attack he will be fought with coolness and courage.

In evidence of the discipline of my troops I have to adduce that on last night at a late hour the long roll was beat; in less than thirty minutes the whole encampment was under arms and in complete readiness for action. If they were all armed I should have no fear of any force he can send at present.

With regard to that part of your note relating to the defenses of the other portion of the State, I can only arrange for corps of Partisan Rangers until the result of the telegraphic correspondence between yourself and the President is known. As to dividing the department into two parts, separated by the river-I will, however, consult with you in person on that point.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

M. LOVELL,

Major-General, Commanding.

COMMANDANT'S OFFICE,

Confederate Post, Washington, Miss., May 17, 1862.

Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Corinth:

SIR: It becomes my duty to inform you of the facts connected with the occupation by the enemy of the city of Natchez, located within my command. Their gunboats had been reported for several days previous having passed Bayou Sara on their way up, that being the first point of telegraphic communication below the city. On Tuesday night they were 6 miles below Ellis' Cliffs and 23 miles below Natchez. The rockets and other signals from the cliffs arrested their progress and they returned down the river. They remained between there and Bayou Sara until Saturday night at 7 o'clock, when my scouts informed me of their passing Walche's plantation, 35 miles below Natchez, to the number of five gunboats. No further information of their movements was received until 12 o'clock on Monday, when intelligence from the post at the cliffs and the scouts on the opposite side of the river was received simultaneously with the fact of the leading boat coming in sight from the bluffs at Natchez.

In a few hours five of them anchored in line of battle opposite the city, and soon after a cutter, commanded by an officer and 12 men, with the Federal flag flying in the stern sheets, left the leading vessel, the Iroquois, steering for the usual landing of the city. Just before this nearly 100 unarmed recruits for Virginia, who were to have been taken by the ferry-boat to the Vicksburg, at her location 5 or 6 miles above the city, were ordered off the ferry-boat, with directions to march by and to Brookhaven, knowing that by that mode they would arrive safely, though not so speedily.