of the Minnesota men, came through from Jackson to avoid the conscription.
The last DIVISION of troops left Grenada for Vicksburg the day Horton came through Grenada.
The total force at Vicksburg is not believed to exceed 45,000 men, and at Port Hudson there are about 15,000. But four regiments of troops are left at Mobile, and no more troops are available in the South to send to Vicksburg.
An expedition fitted out in Mobile to operate against our store-ships had failed, but a much larger one was in preparation, and the men engaged in it were to have one-half the captures.
This information from Mobile comes through General Dodge, who regards it as entirely reliable. I communicated it to Captain Pennock, of the navy, who sent it to Washington.
Roddey has built a small field-work on the east bank of the Tennessee [River], near Eastport, and has a steamer. Dodge wants two or three transports and a gunboat to clean him out. His sphere of operations is in Rosecrans' department.
Hurlbut, having assumed command of the SIXTEENTH Army Corps, limits my command to the Districts of Memphis and Corinth, and throws nearly all the trade business into my hands. I find enough to do.
Both Hurlbut and myself have prohibited circulation of Chicago Times in our commands.
I referred the subject of the cotton in the hands of Captain Eddy to you in a former letter. I shall be pleased if you sanction my course of proceeding. I have simply postponed the sale, but, owing to your order to sell it, I have not deemed myself authorized to take any action further than the postponement of sale until your decision could be had. A portion of the cotton is fully liable to confiscation, and the agents of the United States Sanitary Commission have applied to me for a few bales to be made into comforters for the hospitals. If you authorize me to investigate and dispose of the claims of owners, I will do so, but cannot act without specific authority. Will you please give me instructions on the subject by return mail? Where claims of owners are established, the cotton ought to be given up only to the original owners, or on the original owner's written order. Such a course will prevent any fraud on the part of speculators.
Everything here is working harmoniously. I hope you will be entirely successful in your undertaking. The taking of Vicksburg is your right, and I hope it may be added to the laurels which belong to you as the most successful general of the war.
I am, general, most truly, yours,
C. S. HAMILTON,
PROVIDENCE, La., February 9, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel John A. RAWLINS:
COLONEL: The work from the river to Lake Providence is nearly completed, but, of course, the water cannot be let in until the outlet through Bayou Baxter is clear. This cannot be done with the force now here. I hope, therefore, that the remainder of the Sixth DIVISION will be sent here as soon as practicable.
An immense amount of stock has been driven from this region over to the high lands WEST of Bayou Macon, which will be accessible as soon