The Governor directs me to ask if there is any good reason why such men should not be allowed to organize themselves in companies, as above mentioned. They can do much service to the country. They are bold, brave men, and know the country well.
JAMES H. RIVES,
JACKSON, February 9, 1863.
His Excellency John J. PETTUS,
Governor of Mississippi:
GOVERNOR: I am directed by Lieutenant-General Pemberton to say, in answer to your communication of this date, that he can see no objection to the men referred to entering the State troops, and that said men shall not be interfered [with] so long as the State troops shall remain in the service of the Confederate States.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. R. WADDY,
ENGINEER OFFICE, Vicksburg, February 10, 1863.
Asst. Adjt. General and Chief of Staff, &c.:
MAJOR: In accordance with instructions from the lieutenant-general commanding, I beg leave to submit the following report of my recent reconnaissance on the Big Black River. I was unable to find any point on both sides of the river, and I do not believe such a state of affairs exists on the river.
At Baldwin's Ferry there is a bluff on the east bank some 15 feet above high- water mark, and a mound on this bluff 12 or 15 feet higher, as shown in the accompanying sketch. * Below the ferry the river is straight for 600 or 700 yards. Above the ferry, and less than 200 yards from the mound, there is a very sudden bend, difficult of passage even for small boats. Edwards Depot, decided me in selecting it for the location of a couple of batteries and some rifle-pits, as shown on the sketch.
At Hall's Ferry, 10 miles below Baldwin's, on the east bank, high and commanding hills abut against the river, but the channel is so crooked that guns located at this point could hardly get more than one fire at a passing boat.
There is a bluff at Regan's, 1 mile above Hall's Ferry, on the WEST bank, where the same difficulty occurs. Five miles below Hall's Ferry occurs a bluff on the WEST bank, at a place called Ivanhoe, belonging to MISS Covington, but I think this too far from our central positions to be occupied by a small force. There is, however, at this point a natural raft, some 10 feet under high water, which might be made of service as an obstruction by making additions to it.
The Big Black River is a very crooked stream, narrow and difficult of passage, and I do not apprehend much danger from the enemy in any attempt to use it against us. It also overflows its bottom to such an extent that it would be extremely difficult for the enemy to hand troops