for some days; meanwhile I shall fall back down Deer Creek to a more secure position, and recruit my horses and men, both exhausted from constant exposure and exertion, and with the hope that re-enforcements will be sent me. With an adequate support I can annoy the enemy exceedingly; at present my situation is most critical. Yesterday, when I heard of the approach of the enemy, I had but 10 of the cavalry in camp. All the rest were on picket-posts, absolutely necessary, except 40, who had been sent to the upper part of Bolivar, and who returned late at night. From the report of their commander, I learn of the existence there of a state of things requiring vigorous action. I will forward the written report as soon as possible, simply stating now that he found the whole community engaged in trading cotton with the enemy. He burned 94 bales, found on the river or en route, in which latter case he burned the wagons, and brought off the mules and negroes belonging to Reuben Stark. I shall retain the property until I receive orders on the subject. An express was sent by the citizens ahead of the command, and warned the trading boats of its approach, thus enabling them to escape. None of the parties implicated could be caught on the hasty trip. Until my force is increased, I will not venture to send there again.
I am not acquainted with the construction or manner of using torpedoes, but would suggest that they might be employed advantageously at points where the gunboats are in the habit of landing frequently. As far as I can learn, they always tie up at the same spot. By using great secrecy, and placing them at night, the plan may succeed.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. FERGUSON,
CHATTANOOGA, February 17, 1863.
Major [W. A.] Hewlett, commanding Thirteenth Battalion Partisan Rangers, at Columbus, MISS., has been ordered to you for duty, by command of General Johnston.
BENJ. S. EWELL,
Vicksburg, February 17, 1863.
Major THEO Johnston,
Commissary of Subsistence, Jackson:
The major-general commanding desires 1,000,000 rations rice sent here immediately. Statement asked for will be sent soon as possible.
T. B. REED,
Major and Commissary of Subsistence.
HDQRS. DEPT. MISS. AND E. La., Jackson, February 17, 1863.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS:
Mr. PRESIDENT: I find it necessary to send Major Mayo, my chief of ordnance, to Richmond, to obtain necessary supplies of ordnance and ammunition for this department. Your Excellency is aware that two