go on a reconnaissance to select a suitable point for works, and a raft, as near the mouth of the Bogue Phaliah as the water will admit, if possible at the mouth; if not, to go up till a point is found, and I will be prepared to move with three regiments and a section of artillery at a moment's notice, as soon as their report is received, or I hear from the expedition now there. There are ample stores between this and the Rolling Fork for this command at present.
Colonel Ferguson day before yesterday gave the enemy such a check with his small force that they were deterred from a farther advance. They deployed seven regiments of infantry, artillery, and cavalry. Their command, from all I cam learn, consists of Steele's DIVISION and the Marine Brigade, not to exceed 6,000 men. Their onk, to destroy provisions. The negroes are in a pretty bad condition, and a larger force of cavalry, say a regiment, is needed here, as only cavalry can get through the swamps. But it should be borne in mind that corn will now be scarce, and the general had better delay till I hear through Colonel Ferguson the extent of their destruction. I will let you hear further this evening.
STEPHEN D. LEE,
Major J. J. REEVE,
HDQRS. ROLLING FORK, April 12, 1863-9. 30 a. m.
MAJOR: I have delayed my dispatch to this hour to hear from Colonel Ferguson, near Greenville, but have received nothing from him; but as the Yankees were 5 miles from Greenville at last accounts, I do not expect anything important from him. The planters and negroes are much demoralized on the Mississippi, and from all I can learn large cotton crops are being planted by men who were regarded above suspicion. On some of the places the negroes are almost in a state of insurrection.
Adjutant-General Thomas, U. S. Army, on the 9th visited Lake Providence, and made a speech to the troops, stating that all the negroes were to be returned ant the men conscripted. Each DIVISION should have three negro regiments, to be officered by white officers; that all the rest of the negroes, men and women, were to be put to work under overseers, to raise cotton and corn for the Government, to make the war self-sustaining. The United States authorities at Memphis are seizing all the cotton for the Government. Thomas said that Vicksburg would fall within thirty days without the firing of a gun. The report of the speech comes from a reliable source, who was present and heard the speech.
The Hope returned from a point 60 miles above the Bogue yesterday evening, that being the lowest point where obstructions can be made with sufficient ground for fortifying. I respectfully urge that works be commenced at the point indicated, to allay any uneasiness in the future, and that at least four long-range guns be placed in battery there, protected by a suitable force. I send a report of Captain Harrod, with a sketch. * The Hope heard nothing of the Arcadia or Dew Drop up the Sunflower. I send the Emma Bett, with Colonel [W. E.] Curtiss, 150 men, and two howitzers, up the Sunflower to look after the MISSING