operated during all these terrible storms, and are now following the enemy into the mountains.
Officers and men behaved splendidly, and all are entitled to the warmest praise for perseverance and daring gallantry.
Scouts have arrived from the interior of Mississippi during the last twenty-four hours, and all report the enemy rapidly evacuating Vicksburg. He is moving everything to the eastward, and the talk is that all are going to re-enforce the army opposed to Rosecrans, now commanded by Joe Johnston, Bragg having been removed.
Price's forces are on the east side of Black River.
This news from Vicksburg is of such importance that I take the liberty of suggesting it be sent to General Grant at once.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. S. HAMILTON.
HDQRS. SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Number 28. Lake Providence, La., February 26, 1863.
Trade not having been opened below Helena, Ark., by the Secretary of the Treasury, it is therefore ordered:
I. That all cotton in this vicinity be seized for the benefit of the Government, or whomsoever it may concern, under the immediate direction and supervision of Captain John G. Klinck, chief quartermaster of the SEVENTEENTH Army Corps, who will forward the same as fast as practicable to Captain Eddy, assistant quartermaster U. S. Army, Memphis, Tenn., and will keep a strict account of all seizures made by virtue of this order, promptly sending a duplicate report to Lieutenant-Colonel [Charles A.] Reynolds, chief quartermaster Department of the Tennessee. Requisitions for details to carry out this order will be made by the quartermaster upon these headquarters.
II. All cotton heretofore seized, now at this point, will be immediately turned over to Captain Klinck, on proper receipts being given.
III. All orders from subordinate commanders in contravention hereof are hereby revoked.
By order of Major-General McPherson:
WM. T. CLARK,
HEADQUARTERS Fifteenth ARMY CORPS,
Camp, February 26, 1863.
General FRED. STEELE,
Commanding First DIVISION:
SIR: The ram Queen of the WEST having disappeared down the river, may be construed as timidity on the one hand, or as evidence of having the river below free and unobstructed to the enemy. It looks to me ominous of the fate of the Indianola, and if she be destroyed or captured, we must expect, of course, the enemy at any time making his appearance in boats from that direction. I will leave the four 20-pounder guns there; one to cover the steamboat New Era; two to offer some obstacle to the passage of boats above Warrenton. But infantry is of no use there, except to protect and cover those guns and assist in protecting the boat. There being no protection against this foul weather, and it being impossible to haul rations and forage over to the troops there, I deem one good regiment sufficient for protecting those guns and holding that point of our line. You may, therefore, withdraw, say,