lower one it would strike the upper, and, in backing, would run foul of the lower.
He says they are repairing the railroad north of Oxford, and have it running from Grenada to Oxford, and the bridge across the Tallahatchee in good repair; that a very large number, "a great many thousands," of troops are at Big Black River Bridge, and thence along the railroad to Jackson; that they have announced their determination not to be surrounded at Vicksburg, but will evacuate should they be unable to maintain the blockade. He says that Jeff. Davis is in Jackson, at the Railroad House, and has stopped the manufacture of arms at Columbus, stating that if they could "whip Grant they would have all the guns they wanted, and if they couldn't they would want no more made there. " They are determined not to be surrounded, and are holding themselves in readiness to evacuate should such a danger become imminent.
Mr. Ruggles could not get down through by way of Panola, on account of high water, and had to come up this way, and accidentally met Captain McKissick. He could obtain no information whatever about the road by way of Panola.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. W. DENVER.
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Lake Providence, March 11, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded to Major-General Grant.
Mr. Ruggles has been employed for several months past on secret service, and his information has generally proved correct.
JAS. B. McPHERSON.
RED SULPHUR SPRINGS, February 27, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that we found no enemy in force here, but the woods and hills are full of them. They are dispersed. I think, from what information I can get, that there are about 50 in this vicinity.
I have sent Captain Hanna, with the infantry, to Corinth. I have sent with him Captain Van Ess, Roddey's cavalry, Lieutenant Walker, of the same company and regiment, and 3 privates (all prisoners), that being all the booty that we have got up to the present time, except about 10 horses. I have thought it best to remain here a day or two, and pick up the stragglers that are concealed. It is the only way to break up the nest, and we can do it effectually by this course.
There are about two hundred mattresses, with pillows and bedding for the same complete, that are stored away here in building. All these things belong to a party in Holly Springs, and would be useful in our hospitals. Captain Hanna examined them with me, and can tell you all about them. It seems to me that these things had better be brought to Corinth.
We will return, probably to-morrow night, but perhaps not till the next day. Colonel [James B.] Weaver started back yesterday.
Truly, your obedient servant,
GEO. E. SPENCER,