or eight years; left there February 11, under instructions from General Banks to visit Port Hudson and report the rebel force at that point; arrived at Port Hudson 16th of February. Reports force at Port Hudson at about 35,000 men, three hundred field pieces, and twenty-two or twenty-four heavy guns in battery. [D.] Ruggles and [J. B.] Villepigue are there. Rebel force between Vicksburg and Big Black River, 37,000 men; 9,000 men at Jackson, to support Vicksburg or Port Hudson, as may be required. Thinks there are no rebel boats in Big Black River. One ram on the Yazoo River on stocks, at Yazoo City. Length of ram, 310 feet, 60 feet beam; double vessel with four engines; constructed skiff-like, so as to move either way. It will be some time before it is finished. Also gunboat Mobile; her machinery is in; propeller build; can be used, but not finished; intended for two guns; no guns in Yazoo City to fit in her; intention is to casemate her. Also steamer Magenta, covered with cotton bales; not heavy; to be manned with sharpshooters, and used for boarding. Also steamers Mary E. Keene and Lackland, to be used as steamer Magenta. Also transports Republic, Sharp, Hope, Cotton Plant, Magnolia (large size), Hartford City, Ben. McCulloch, Saint Mary (mounted with two small guns), and Emma Bett, used as messenger boats. There are 300 troops at Haynes' Bluff, as he was informed; was not there himself.
He gives the following description of torpedoes and buoy: Buoy made of dead cypress logs, 8 to 12 inches in diameter and 3 feet long; buoyed so that the top is even with the surface of the water. Peg in the bottom, with friction primer attached. There are a great many sunk around Haynes' Bluff. He was informed that there were six guns in battery at Haynes' Bluff, one 8-inch columbiad. No guns mounted at Yazoo City on the 17th of March. Arrived at Greenwood March 23; 5,000 rebel troops encamped at Greenwood at that time, and receiving re-enforcements from Jackson, and Grenada by way of Gaines' Bluff. The main battery near Greenwood of six heavy guns; two small field pieces in redoubt on right of main battery, going down stream; small fort, with four field pieces, 1 1/2 miles from main battery; two guns (12-pounders) in rear of main battery, facing Greenwood, 2 miles distant. Main body of troops encamped 2 miles below main fort. They are constructing a new raft at Greenwood, and have commenced another raft at Yazoo City.
I send these down for what they are worth. He has certainly been at the places he speaks of. Prentiss may have sent you this before. The man may be a spy, but I think not.
Your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT.
[APRIL 1, 1863. -For Dodge and Hurlbut to Rosecrans, about movements of Confederates in Northern Alabama, see Series I, VOL. XXIII, Part II, pp. 200, 201.]
HDQRS. SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Numbers 37.
Memphis, Tenn., April 1, 1863.
I. All officers and soldiers within this command are especially prohibited from interfering with or in any wise molesting peaceable inhabitants within our lines engaged in the cultivation of the soil, and are enjoined to give every encouragement to the preparation and culture of farms, plantations, and gardens. The taking of rails or other fencing