deem best adapted to the object in view, under your instructions from the War Department. You will dismount the battalion of Partisan Rangers, at present commanded by Major A. C. Steele, and from it you will select, if practicable, men with horses sufficient for two full and efficient companies, for duty. You will, with the companies placed at your disposal by Major Clark, at once proceed to arrest all stragglers from Steede's battalion or any other organized corps of the army, together with all conscripts absent from camps of instruction, and all persons liable to conscription, who are enrolled and not exempt. Such persons, as fast as they are arrested in sufficient numbers, will be forwarded to this place; but if this be not practicable, you will establish a rendezvous for them at Monticello, MISS. In the discharge of this duty you will have the active assistance of Major A. C. Steede.
By order of Lieutenant-General Pemberton:
W. H. McCARDLE,
HDQRS. DEPT. Mississippi AND EASTERN LOUISIANA, Jackson, February 6, 1863.
Major General W. W. LORING,
GENERAL: The lieutenant-general commanding desires to be informed why General Green's brigade, of General Bowen's DIVISION, has not yet left.
Very respectfully, &c.,
J. C. TAYLOR,
HDQRS. DEPT. Mississippi AND EASTERN LOUISIANA, Jackson, February 7, 1863.
Messrs. N. R. JENNINGS and GEORGE FEARN, Committee:
GENTLEMEN: In reply to your letter of the 2nd February, embodying a resolution of the board of directors of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad in relation to the defense of the Eastern District of Louisiana, I regret to say that I have no troops at present available for that purpose. You are aware, I presume, that the enemy is much superior in force to that I am able to bring against him, has been for some time past, and is now, threatening the two most important military positions in this department. In the present juncture of affairs the possession of the district of country which you refer would, in my opinion, be of little value to the enemy, as it has no advantages as a base of operations which are not exceeded by points within his control on the Mississippi River. It must be evident to you that within his control on the Mississippi River. It must be evident to you that any force sent to protect the lake shore of Louisiana or Gulf counties of Mississippi must by so much weaken the more important positions of Port Hudson and Vicksburg. To protect local and private interest is always duty incumbent, when it can be done without prejudice to more general or vital interests, but the former must not in any way interfere to the prejudice of the latter. In my opinion the disposition of a sufficient force to insure protection to the lake shore is at this time incompatible with the safety of more serious interests.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. C. PEMBERTON.