I am erecting will, when completed, be very strong, and can easily be held by the force under the command of Colonel Ferguson.
Black Bayou is pretty well obstructed, and so is Deer Creek between Black Bayou and this point. These obstructions, in conjunction with the fortifications, will detain any force of the enemy sufficiently long to allow re-enforcements to be sent in large numbers.
Mr. Hampton has just arrived here, and has given me the following information: He says the enemy is digging a canal from Milliken's Bend into Walnut Bayou, thence into Vidal (he thinks) Bayou, and from there into Roundaway Bayou, near New Carthage. He thinks their object is to carry supplies on flat-boats through this canal, for the purpose of making an expedition up the Big Black, and for supplying boats from below.
STEPHEN D. LEE,
Major J. J. REEVE,
A. A. G., 2nd Dist., Dept of MISS. and E. La., Vicksburg, MISS.
Number 4. Reports of Colonel Samuel W. Ferguson, C. S. Army.
FALLS' PLACE, April 7, 1863.
MAJOR: I have fallen back to this point, and will continue my march down the creek to-day until I find a position that can be held by my force against the advance of the enemy. The latter crossed Black Bayou yesterday, near General French's place, to the number of about 300, and had large camp and a train of wagons on the other side, ready to cross as soon as they could get a bridge fixed. General Steele seems to be in command. One of my spies, disguised as a negro, had a long talk with him. He said he intended to pick me up at Rolling Fork and put me on his boats. This may be only a boats, or may indicate that they wish to get possession of the country from Rolling Fork to Black Bayou, and then clear Deer Creek of obstructions. Please let me know at once what to do; whether to hold the country to the last extremity, awaiting re-enforcements, or shall I endeavor to get my force safely out of the way and give the country up? I got positive information yesterday that twenty-five boats, going up. On yesterday sixteen boats, with troops, were being disembarked at Greenville.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. FERGUSON,
Major J. J. REEVE,
DEER CREEK, 26 MILES ABOVE ROLLING FORK, April 7, 1863-7 p. m.
MAJOR: I have fallen back to this point before the superior forces of the enemy. Their cavalry was last night about 14 miles from here. I have so little cavalry that I cannot obtain full knowledge of their movements.