pursued by my cavalry. I have one company of infantry of my command stationed at Spottsville, Rumsey, and Rochester, respectively - the three lower locks. I deem it necessary, under present circumstances, to guard the locks, as a very few disaffected individuals could in an hour so injure them as to materially interrupt navigation. I will also send up on each boat in Government service a small guard, to prevent a recurrence of such affairs as that of the Gilmore.
The country between the Green and Cumberland Rivers has been for some time past infested with small bands of guerrillas and Southern soldiers, returned, watching to commit depredations. I keep my forces scouting for them wherever and whenever I can fear of them. I have 40 of them now in prison, but, with all our vigilance and activity, it is almost impossible to prevent some depredations; they have too many friends to conceal their presence to be always discovered. These residents ought to be held strictly accountable for harboring them.
I desire to call your attention to a few facts connected with the Hattie Gilmore. She was taken by a party of 15 men without firing a gun. The robbers were kindly received by the officers of the boat, though this may have been policy. The captain of the boat (Gilmore) is a rebel at heart, being loud and open in denunciation of the Administration and the war. The pilot (Graham) boldly says he is a secessionist, and is merely working for pay. When captured, no injury was done to the boat, the captain only being required to give his parole that his boat should not be used in Government. This is just what the captain wanted, and congratulates himself that he is out of the Government service, so that he can run in private trade on Green River. If it can be done consistently with honor and justice, I would recommend that the Gilmore be taken and continued in Government service. If this cannot be done, she should be prohibited from carrying on trade in Green River. Unless an example is made of the Gilmore, it will be holding out an inducement for other boats to be disgracefully surrendered. You will pardon me for suggesting that an investigation into the loyalty of the officers in charge of boats in Government service, on Green River as well as elsewhere, would materially benefit the public service. I am satisfied that a large number of them are at heart rebels. The present acting captain of the D. B. Campbell (Combs) is no better than the captain of the Gilmore. I am credibly informed that the owners of the coal barges lately destroyed opposite Memphis passed up a few days ago. They openly declared their secession sympathies, and expressed the wish that every d---d coal boat and steamboat on the river was sunk or burned. If such men are employed by the Government, may we not expect a recurrence of such disasters as those of the Gilmore and at Memphis?
I will send up report of troops to-morrow.
JOHN W. FOSTER,
CARTHAGE, March 2, 1863.
I have information that the rebels intend capturing the fleet on its way down the river. No gunboats have yet been seen. I shall detain them, unless otherwise ordered, till gunboats arrive.