seemed all to have embarked. From citizens who went on board to recover stolen property, I learn that General Steele said he was waiting orders from General Grant. I would have made an attack with artillery at daylight this morning, but the storm last night prevented the transportation of the guns, and I am afraid of the bridge in my rear being washed away, the bayou is rising so rapidly from the cut in the levee. In regard to cutting the levees in this section, the only place at which anything could be accomplished would be at the head of William's Bayou, but the river is falling so rapidly I do not think this will amount to much, and will cut me off from the river altogether, leaving a section of country in the condition of that about Lakes Washington and America. Upper Deer Creek is already overflowed from the cut at the head of the creek. A Mr. Carter, a planter at point of Millar's Bend, reported yesterday that since Saturday last, when Steele's expedition landed at Greenville, twenty-two boats loaded with troops had passed his place going up the river. Citizens near Greenville do not confirm this, but the boats may have passed during the night.
I find it impossible to ascertain positively whether the boats of Steele's expedition, after taking the troops on board, went up or down, but incline to the opinion they (6 of them) went up night before last. Yesterday about sunset five formidable gunboats passed down within a half hour of each other.
Since commencing the last sentence, a dispatch from Lieutenant Maughas, who is keeping watch on the river bank, has come in. I inclose it. * He is reliable.
I think it advisable to keep my force here for the present, as that infernal expedition under Ellet, who burns and destroys everything on the river, has lately been on the river near here. He might land to destroy what is left. He cannot get between us, except with a little cavalry, and even that will be impossible in a few days, from the rise in Black Bayou.
As soon as I have time I wish to send a full report of the burning and destruction of private property by General Steele, and in this connection would call attention to the 5 prisoners sent down, who acknowledge that they had been led to the east bank of Deer Creek by their captain, to steal mules and horses and burn everything. They were caught on stolen animals, and had in their possession articles of private property stolen from residences, and were recognized as those who had set fire to the corn on Dr. Hill's plantation. Will not our Government make an example of them? I found in the Yankee camp at this place four pairs of hand-cuffs and a long chain, all linked together, which would well ornament them. I need all the cavalry I can get.
My only loss so far is Lieutenant Dorsey, of the sharpshooters, captured, and 2 men, of the Fortieth Alabama, deserted to the enemy.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. FERGUSON,
Colonel, Commanding Upper Deer Creek.
Brigadier General STEPHEN D. LEE,
COURTNEY'S PLACE, DEER CREEK, April 13, 1863-10 a. m.
GENERAL: I can make nothing of the enemy's movements, unless I construe them to indicate the purpose of establishing a post at Greenville.