are said to be planted in the river, and should be removed. I do not know their locality. Mr. Burton planted four of them so deep that I presume the enemy's boats passed over them. As the water falls, they may come within the reach of the keel of some friendly navigator. He should be sent to raise them. Two were planted a short distance above Weldon, and one whose name I do not know, is acquainted with their locality, and one of them should be sent to remove them.
There are now at the fortification 150 negroes, and, although the number is small, the crops are so backward here that many of them would be very serviceable in preparing corn crops, and there is little else planted on the river. August, September, and October will be comparatively idle months in the absence of cotton-picking. A call of hands could be then make, who would speedily place Fort Pemberton in a position to establish permanently the reputation it has so far been able to sustain. I would, therefore, recommend that all the negroes that can be spared from present emergencies should be permitted to return home, and that at an early day all should be released, at least until the crops will less by their absence.
With apologies for intruding so long a letter on your valuable time, I am, respectfully,
T. N. WAUL,
Colonel, Commanding Fort Pemberton.
NEAR PRAIRIE MOUND, Chickasaw COUNTY, April 27, 1863.
GENERAL: Your note of yesterday's date, directed to me at Verona, just received.
My regiment, and Colonel [J. F.] Smith's regiment, State troops, are at this place. Major Inge is at Okolona. To-day, Major [T. W.] Ham, with battalion State troops, will be at Okolona. Lieutenant-Colonel [J.] Cunningham's regiment and Major Hewlett's battalion are at Aberdeen, and ordered to Buena Vista.
My information this morning is that the enemy was last evening southwest of Houston; would probably take the Pittsborough road, and endeavor to escape between Pontotoc and Oxford. The force of the enemy is small, not exceeding 250. The main column has been driven back. The damage done to the Southern Railroad is not as extensive as first reported. The enemy did not get to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Cars came up from Meridian this morning. I will send you all the information of the enemy's whereabouts I may be able to get, and will keep in the most perfect readiness to act where it may be necessary. I will send one command on to the Pontotoc and Houston road; will keep one here, and Major Inge at Okolona, to scout down the railroad until it fully appears no longer necessary.
If the enemy has adopted the Pittsborough and Rockey Ford route, or should come up the Pontotoc route, it will be easy for you to capture him. Should he change his course, and endeavor to get away by passing below Aberdeen, or between Okolona and Aberdeen, and through Camargo, or between Okolona and Pontotoc, we shall be very likely to get him.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
C. R. BARTEAU,