War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0508 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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They were busy repairing bridge across Deer Creek, near Colonel Falls'. This may be for the purpose of reaching Bogue Phaliah, and embarking parties on small boats for the purpose of surprising some of our steamers, which might be caught without troops on board. I got 4 deserters yesterday; they represent the force at 7,000 under General Sherman; General Steele was their brigade commander; this estimate exclusive of the Marine Brigade. I have sent three dispatches before this; hope they went through rapidly. My situation very embarrassing until I can learn whether re-enforcements are to be sent or I am to make good my retreat as best I may. If the country is to be held, more cavalry is indispensable. Please send me instructions at once.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. W. FERGUSON,

Colonel, Commanding.

Major J. J. REEVE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

DEER CREEK, 20 MILES ABOVE ROLLING FORK, April 7, 1863-7. 30 p. m.

MAJOR: The enemy came upon me to-day at the point I had halted yesterday, at about 2 p. m. I repulsed their cavalry, and remained in position after their artillery opened, for some time, until seven regiments (apparently) of infantry advanced in line of battle. I then fell back slowly, repulsed their cavalry again with rear guard, and I am now making my way to Rolling Fork, as I can hear nothing as yet of re-enforcements or of boats to take me off. If they are not there when I arrive, I fear the greater portion of the command must be sacrificed. I shall endeavor to get some of it down Deer Creek to Victor Wilson's place, if not cut off at Black Bayou. Please, if re-enforcements have not started in time, have some transportation ready at Lower Deer Creek as well as at Rolling Fork.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. W. FERGUSON,

Colonel, Commanding.

Major J. J. REEVE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

DEER CREEK, CAPTAIN WILLIS' PLANTATION, April 8, 1863-11 a. m.

MAJOR: Learning that re-enforcements had arrived at the mouth of Rolling Fork, I have determined to hold this position, which is a strong one, until further orders. I have not yet received any report from the commanding officer of said re-enforcements, but conclude that a sufficient force will be sent to hold this approach to Vicksburg. Your dispatches of the 5th and 6th instant were received last night after mine to you had been sent. My rear guard is in the position it occupied last night, about 3 miles higher up, and at last accounts the enemy had not advanced through the canebrake I held until sunset yesterday. With the force now here, I can hold the point until to-morrow at any rate.

In case of a severe engagement, my artillery ammunition will soon be exhausted, in consequence of the order to me some time since to send back a portion of it. My guns are three 12-pounder howitzers and