three 3-inch rifles. What I need most are shells and spherical case; you can decide on the necessity of their being furnished in time. My requisitions for harness, &c., have not been filled, and, in consequence, I can only use four horses of mules to some of the caissons. This may eventually prove a serious matter. My terrible deficiency in cavalry has prevented my driving before me the stock of the country, and collecting the wagons and teams, so a supply of food and transportation has been left to the enemy, in spite of the efforts I have made to prevent it.
As soon as I heard on Sunday last that the troops were landing at Greenville, I sent a party to Millar's Bend, on the Mississippi, to cut the levee at the head of Black Bayou. The chances of success were more than doubtful, but if it is accomplished, in about ten days the swamp they have crossed on a dry land road will all be overflowed, and their line of communication very seriously obstructed. When they reach Rolling Fork, they will have marched about 65 miles. We will, there-fore, have the great advantage of operations on an interior or shorter line by water communication. Their line of communication may be cut by small parties going up Bogue Phaliah in skiffs and yawls, such as I captured in getting through the overflow to the vicinity of Deer Creek, at such points as Falls' Landing, Taylor's, Ruck's, and the place occupied by Dr. and Mr. William Blanton. The parties could also give notice of any similar expedition of the enemy to capture by surprise our steamers. The men for such an expedition should be selected with regard to their skill with the oar.
I yesterday sent Captain [W. A. C.] Jones, of the Fortieth Alabama, to Rolling Fork, to examine the practicability of putting a levee across Deer Creek at the head of Rolling Fork, in order to turn all the water into the latter, which would cause such a fall in the former as to prevent boats going up from Black Bayou. The water is so much higher now than it was when the last expedition came, that trees then thrown in, and which rested on each bank and formed a good blockade, are now afloat and can be easily remove. I inclose his report. * If the plan is deemed worthy of adoption, I would suggest that engineers, tools, &c., be at once ordered to execute it.
I have burned all the bale cotton as I fell back before the enemy, and destroyed the bridges, to keep them as much as possible to our side of the creek. They have burned several fine steam gins that I know of, and probably all. I yesterday hanged a negro man, slave of William F. Smith, who, mistaking two of my men for the Abolitionists, hailed them across the creek, and volunteered to conduct them to the rebel camp, so as to surprise it; informed them of my strength and position, asked for a gun to kill his master, and said that he would knock down and rape any white woman.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. FERGUSON,
Major J. J. REEVE,
COURTNEY'S PLANTATION, DEER CREEK, April 12, 1863.
GENERAL: YOUR letter of yesterday received this a. m. I have been waiting to give you the latest news from the river. Some of the enemy's transports lay at Greenville all yesterday. Their artillery and cavalry