War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0355 Chapter XXXVI. EXPEDITIONS TO GREENVILLE, MISS., ETC.

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paroled by the enemy, 2 wagons burned, and a number of horses and arms abandoned by the cavalry in their flight.

The conduct of Captain Lewers and several of the lieutenants of cavalry will have to be in investigated thoroughly, unless something is developed to cause me to change my mind. I shall arrest most of them as soon as practicable. Captain Lewers' company is, without exception, the poorest I have ever seen. I know of no way to remedy the evil but to break the company up entirely, transferring certain of the men to Captain Barnes and the rest to infantry companies. As cavalry they are not worth one day's support by the Confederate Government. Captain Lewers himself is in every respect inefficient and unfitted for his position, and I fear the same remark applies to all his officers. In sending me such a command, Colonel [Wirt] Adams risked my battery and the lives of brave men. He broke up two squadrons to make this detail, and then only sent one-half of one company (viz, of Captain Barnes), so that I have not even had the small force ordered by the lieutenant-general commanding.

There are many reasons for me to remain and defend this country, even with my handful of men. The principal one is the amount of corn in it, all of which may be transported to Vicksburg by boat, via Bogue Pheliah and the Sunflower. Another, the stores of Government cotton, which must otherwise be burned or fall into the hands of the enemy. Even now the Abolitionists are trying to get out all the cotton from the vicinity of Lake Washington. The citizens are afraid to burn it, and I have not a man I can spare for the purpose.

Knowing well that additional troops cannot be sent me, I would not be importunate in m; y demands, but only ask for soldiers in place of Captain Lewers' rabble, now partly disarmed and dismounted. Let me have Captain [G. T.] Blackburn's company, if within reach, or Captain [W. H.] Johnson's, both of my own regiment, and I will give a good account of them.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. W. FERGUSON,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

Major J. J. REEVE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

NEAR GREENVILLE, February 28, 1863.

MAJOR: I send two prisoners of war by Private B. P. Renfroe, of Company B, Adams' cavalry, an intelligent man, who, if you desire it, may give much information of things here. As the company lost much in their wagon destroyed by the enemy, it may be well to let him go where it was raised to procure clothing, &c., for it.

I mention for what it is worth that many Yankee officers on the fleet were overheard in conversation to say that the attack on Vicksburg would be made very soon; that they expected to silence the guns and land directly under them. This I would not deem worthy of mention were it not for the peculiar circumstances under which it was obtained. They also discussed an expected descent of a fleet of boats to procure cotton along the river, accompanied by a brigade of cavalry.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. W. FERGUSON,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

Major J. J. REEVE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.